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This review is from: Sea Change (Audio CD)
You've got to wonder what Beck's ex-girlfriend is feeling right now. Imagine this, your boyfriend of nine years, whom you've recently broken up with, has just released an sad album on which *every* song is about his post-breakup depression. On top of that, the album received five-stars from Rolling Stone (only the second this year) and is considered by many to be an instant classic. The ex-boyfriend is Beck and his album is called Sea Change.
The music is deceptively simple and beautiful. The wackiness of Beck's previous efforts is gone and the blatant weirdness is replaced by an backward sincerity. Musically and lyrically, this album is very real. The music creates a soft bed upon which Beck's voice floats over, lands on, and sinks into. The vocal performance is in stark contrast to the "heartfelt" pop-vocal performances of today. Beck is whispering his sorrows in our collective ear, rather than screaming at us. It is a very bold and personal effort.
Sea Change, while not yet being called a concept album, seems to follow the appropriate rules for a concept album. The first song, "Golden Age" sets up the mood and the situation. "Put your hands on the wheel / Let the golden age begin / Let the window down / Feel the moonlight in your skin / Let the desert wind cool your aching head / Let the weight of the world drift away instead" Beck is welcoming us into his melancholy world, telling you to hold on, allow his sadness (moonlight) to touch you, and escape into his pain. Likewise, the song's instrumentation begins simply with an acoustic guitar and ends with a kind of electronic white noise.
The last song, "Side Of The Road", wraps up the journey by returning the listener to the road; the trip is over. The instrumentation is back to traditional acoustic instruments, no electronic blips and beeps. In the end, Beck tells us, "On a borrowed dime / In a different light / You might see what / The other side looks like / ...Let it pass / On the side of the road/ What a friend could tell me now" In essence, I think Beck is saying that now that you've seem my misery, know that it doesn't have to be your own experience -- in fact, you'd probably be better off letting it simply pass.
It's hard to choose a favorite song since they all kind of run into each other and maintain a consistent mood. Truth be told, every song is great, every song is beautiful. Each listen seems to bring more understanding and more insight into Beck's sadness. Immediate standouts include the opener, "The Golden Age", as well as "Guess I'm Doing Fine", "Lost Cause", "Nothing I Haven't Seen", and "Sunday Sun".
It's a great album. There is emotion in every note, every word. Behind all the pain and sadness there is beauty and possibly even joy. It's easily the best album I've heard all year and ranks among my favorites of all time. It's part Harvest-era Neil Young, part Air, with a healthy dose of Nick Cave thrown in for good measure. But all those different components come together to create something unique, something truly honest. Sea Changes is a personal look into Beck's emotions and inner thoughts. It's something that shouldn't be missed.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 12, 2013 8:04:25 PM PDT
I absolutely love Sea Change. But am sorta turned off by 2 Turntables Devils haircut etc. Sea Change is the only LP from Beck I own, any other recommendations? In the line of Sea Change?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2013 11:29:05 PM PDT
J Sexton says:
Beck has a wide range, as your post implies. If you enjoyed Sea Change but don't care much for the Odelay album, I'd say check out Mutations. Beck is immensely talented and competently executes a broad variety of music. I think Mutations is the closest Beck gets to Sea Change among all his albums, but someone else might have a different opinion.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2014 4:02:29 PM PST
Gem Pascal says:
I respect Beck, his brilliance with effortlessly merging different styles and so forth, but there is one big thing he lacks that the true greats have- Dylan, Costello,Weller,Lennon & McCartney, Young, Springsteen that he doesn't and that is dozens and dozens of great memorable powerful songs. This album Sea Change like his others have 2 or 3 great songs( Lonesome Tears, Lost Cause, Golden Age and a load of samey mediocrity tricked up with special effects which can't hide average songs.
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