Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beck - Modern Guilt

Ever since releasing the beautiful "Sea Change" in 2002, a testament to all things sad, it's getting clearer that Beck is going much less optimistic with age. But when you're known for having irony as your best friend and postmodernism as your lover, how can you age gracefully and still surprise your fans with the many twists you're famous for? The answer was already found with 2006's "The Information", a solid statement that managed to successfully marry all sides of his previous personas in its songs. Now with "Modern Guilt", his 10th album, the title already shows what's partially in store: the themes are even darker and there's almost no hope in its lyrics. However, the choice of super-producer Danger Mouse as partner in crime would suggest that we were in for another fusion between this grown-up Beck and the old-times more fun one. Surprisingly, that doesn't happen completely. Adopting a very direct and straight-forward approach, Danger Mouse's work in here is much more subtle than you'd expect, leaving the attention almost completely to the songs themselves and making this one of the most simple and sparsest Beck records to date. It's true that some of the songs never seen to ignite and nothing in here feels as exciting and new as, say, "Midnight Vultures" at its time. But try giving it a few more listens and you'll find that this album is full of discreet and elegant details to be slowly savored, while he still writes and sings like few other people. (7/10)

Beck - Orphans (video)

Official site
Modern Guilt site
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