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Song Reader Hardcover – December 11, 2012
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The contents of this 'album' are on high quality paper with color artwork. I thought this was going to be more like a song book, but its a collection of individual sheet music, and its well done. 20 songs, plus a variety of 'bonus' material filling out the sheets, will keep you busy. I haven't read sheet music in a long time. While I may not be able to play some of the songs, at a minimum I can read the chords. If you get stuck, its just a matter of time before readers release a SoundCloud or YouTube track to kickstart your musical process.
I gave this four stars because I've had tons of fun learning and recording these songs. While I can't say I like all the songs, I feel like I got my money's worth, both in the physical package and overall entertainment value.
I'm not sure what non-musicians would 'do' with Song Reader, perhaps other reviewers will comment on what led them to purchase it. I'm not a collector of 'fan' material so I don't know if this would be interesting to a long-time Beck fan or not. It will be interesting to see how long the Song Reader buzz lasts.
You can listen to or submit your Youtube or SoundCloud recordings of songs at the official site:
However, songreader.net does not yet give you any means to filter through the lot of good and not-so-good covers of the material. I recommend you also check out this group on SoundCloud where you can easily pick out well-played tracks and listen to the cream of the crop:
The songs? Mostly very good. A few are difficult (the one in 7/4, for example), a few are a little uninspired, but about half of them are REALLY good. Beck has reigned in his impulse towards excessively surreal lyrics, for the most part, in an attempt to make them more approachable. You can find online YouTube versions, but most of the interpretations I've checked out are not very impressive. If you are a musician, try them out yourself. More fun than a barrel of sea monkeys!