Friday, October 06, 2006
Beck--The Information (New!)
Release Date-Oct 3, 2006
Genre/Style-Indie Rock/Alternative Dance
Los Angeles Times Rating-100(Out 0f 100)
New Musical Express Rating-80
Review-The jokey videos Beck includes on a DVD with his new album, “The Information,” can’t conceal how apocalyptically glum he is this time around. Amid his savvy samples and hip-hop beats, Beck has never been the most cheerful lyricist. But he used to be flippant or oblique. Now everywhere he looks he sees decline, loss, religious hypocrisy and war. In the video for “Elevator Music,” the album’s first song, Beck plays air guitar on a rifle while rapping and singing about music as a last-ditch distraction: “You’re doing it to death like it’s the end of the world/Now there’s everybody sweatin,’ forgetting what’s on their minds.” Even thoughts of romance take on military overtones: “I carry my heart like a soldier with a hand grenade,” he sings in “Movie Theme.” “The Information” is produced by Nigel Godrich, Radiohead’s longtime collaborator and Beck’s producer for albums in midterm election years: “Mutations” in 1998 and “Sea Change” in 2002. Mr. Godrich builds tracks that are opulent and ominous, finding dark hollows behind reverberant sounds. Electronics seep and buzz between the funky beats of “We Dance Alone” and “The Information,” while “1000BPM” is a dizzying, staccato avant-hip-hop production. With Mr. Godrich, Beck can get downright psychedelic. There’s a lot of the 1960’s on this album, from the Beatles chord changes of “Think I’m in Love” to the beat of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” echoing through “Cellphone’s Dead,” “Nausea” and “Strange Apparition.” The acoustic fingerpicking and reversed instrumental sounds of “New Round” make it Beck’s answer to the freak-folk movement. Of course on a Beck album no era is revived intact. Pop associations mesh or collide at his whim. His musical allusions once sounded like amused memories, something to toy with for fun. Now, on this darkly intelligent album, they sound like something to hold on to as everything else crumbles. JON PARELES
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