Beck – Odelay

A long time ago I used to really resent this album where Beck seemingly goes way over the top in mixing genres and jumping from one to another pretty much just to show off in the middle of songs and dedicates all his lyrics to pomo hipster new-age Dylan “rapping”. In doing so, in a way, he removes so much of his own diversity, reducing him to something of a gimmick act – but these are great gimmicks, and though Beck would never again be anything other than a caricature act, he’s good at being these caricatures to perfection and using them to make some good music. Plus, if there’s a character we could see more of, it just might be the pomo hipster new-age Dylan “rapping” ’bout what he sees in these modern streets. Sure, it’s a little outdated, and he’s a little outdated, but it’s still solid songwriting and the loops and/or beats really aren’t grating. Some of the song aspects are, like the country western guitar in “Lord Only Knows” or the silly keyboards in “Derelict”, but for the most part it’s a big collection of gimmicks that work really well – plus there’s a couple singles like “Where It’s At” and “Novacane” and a great punker called “Minus” that tone down the experimentation to give you a break for a bit. Sure, it’s no Mellow Gold, but you can’t be both a many times platinum artist and an unemployed failure, and ‘spect to Beck for not pretending that the problems that fueled his artistic breakthrough are still around just to cash in on his former personality.

8/10

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