Well, this is weird. Really weird. Beck started his career as a very, very weird artist. To sum up most of it, it’s an ultra-hipster-circa-early-90s take on the delta blues, but with extra emphasis on making the most dischordant, strange sounds possible. Extremely out of tune loud guitar thwacking on a few songs, tape recorder hiss as a rhythm section…some songs even have very rudimentary drumming, and some sound a little like a slightly less schizo Jandek. Also some hilarious “motivational samples” to drive home the hipster-blues message, with Tony Robbins talking about how the present is our power moment, or some record producy guy talking about getting “a…a heartland feeling…like, uh, Mellencamp, you know, kind of a Mellen feeling. …Uh, John Co-Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, that type of uh, Mellen feeling” before the album centerpiece (“Heartland Feeling”), a song that sounds like, well, Mellencamp if he was a lot worse and probably listened to more by me. But it sure sounds like it came from those god-damned red states, except for the part where its Beck and you know he’s just mocking the genre and the images presented and hopefully he’s drunk, because I know I wish I was.
Included also are early version of some songs which would someday be good, like the slow, folky “Gettin’ Home” (later produced better and without the extended intro and did I mention shitty recording?), “Totally Confused”, and “Motherfucker”, only now its called “Motherfukka”, because saying “fukka” was cool back then for some reason. Oh wait, it wasn’t? My mistake! Or should I say, my hella mistake!
None of the experiments really work, but some are actually not entertaining, and that’s where I draw the line.
Lyrics? Well, pretty generic bluesy stuff, some of it with the modern take (e.g. “The Fucked-Up Blues”) and some without it (e.g. “Soul Sucked Dry”) and some talentless satan snacks if god ever accepts that we realize our mistake by letting them die (“Papa Roach”, “Linkin Park”).