- 11:08 pm - Wed, Feb 26, 2014
- 13 notes
Despite his involvement in Sony’s Soundshapes on the Playstation 3 in 2012 and last year’s unconventional Song Reader, Beck Hansen’s last actual full-length record was in 2008. Morning Phase presents the world with Beck’s first earnest album in over half a decade dance records and trap beats. Morning Phase is a sequel of sorts, a companion to 2002’s masterful Sea Change. The first guitar strums of Morning Phases’ earnest opener (simply) “Morning” instantly rips a portal to Beck’s dreary, rose-tinted emotional feat of introversion. It’s a magical touch, and it similarly inspires an instant spark much in the way My Bloody Valentine’s opener “She Found Now” harkened back to their seminal Loveless on 2013’s M B V.
The remnants of Sea Change’s sensibilities are intentionally present, but there’s something different about Beck’s approach this time around, and that becomes clear as Morning continues to play. What is evident on “Morning” is also evident on “Heart is a Drum” and “Blue Moon”, Beck returns to the past as an aged specter of his self-destructive ghosts on Sea Change. He returns to his past with perspective and hope. As Beck’s vocals sore on the immersive choruses of Blue Moon, there is shimmering light and a true sense of optimism. With wisdom, the emotional gears of Beck’s latest are more varied than the admittedly mono-palette of Sea Change’s gloomy descent. Along with the dawn-cracking optimism on Morning Phase, slower moss-laden melancholic melodies of “Unforgiven” soak in the shadows. Elsewhere, the purgatory of “Wave” bewilders and enchants with a cinematic psychedelia that reaches beyond anything Beck has created to date.
Beck’s take on folk this time around does not contain the ironic, post-modern Beck splicing of Odelay or the gen x shit-rock of “Pay No Mind” and “Fuckin’ with my Head”. Instead earnest compositions of Beatles-Folk tunes in “Blackbird Chain” and the frayed nostalgia of wavering heat-stricken pedal steel guitars on “Country Down” display what was true along, Beck has always been a great songwriter, he just had more fun cutting up genres into bizarre surreal monstrosities. Opening with a sunrise and ending on a sunset, “Waking Light” dwindles luminescent transcendence of Beck’s return to form. Like a Modern Bowie, Beck is always transforming and always shifting. Elaborate in his constructions and ideas, Beck’s 20+ year career has been defined by transit. Naturally, as Beck tends to do, he tries something different; Beck goes backward to build. Morning Phase is a thoughtful, gorgeous follow up to Sea Change and one of Beck’s best efforts. 20 years since the loser became a winner and the streak continues.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★