37. Beck – “Mellow Gold”

I’m not going to feign any prescience here. I didn’t purchase this album when it was first released. I thought Beck’s Loser debut single was merely a quirky novelty tune, sort of like Radiohead’s Creep. While I remain wedded to the latter opinion (and the view that Yorke and Co may be the most overrated musical act of my generation), I changed my tune on Mr. Hansen with his second album.

beck-mellow-gold-album-coverSo I’ve always assessed this album with an awareness of what Beck was capable of achieving. The album is frustrating in that light. Beck has always walked a fine line between catchy and innovative on one hand and indulgent and irritating on the other.

This album leans far too much towards the latter. The production quality is often poor. The vocals are murky (and on a couple of tracks the levels are all messed up). When he nails a song it is very good. Loser actually holds up well. Pay No Mindis Dylan-esque. Beercan is most indicative of what he would become, while Truckdrivin’ Neighbors is annoyingly catchy. The rest is pretty forgettable however, condemning this album to much hitting of the ‘SKIP’ button.

File under: Non-essential back catalogue.

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2 responses to “37. Beck – “Mellow Gold”

  1. Just checking out the albums. Gotta say Becks best song is Beer Can. It’s so good. Nice sound mashing / lyrics. I reckons good lyrics are largely underrated.

    Steve.

  2. This album was largely recorded on a 4 track reel-to-reel in Beck’s friend’s house while said friend was at work. Steely Dan it ain’t, but why should everything sound the same? The funk in the audio production is as important to the album as the songwriting. Lambasting it for poor production quality is silly and misses the point entirely. It’s capturing a moment in time for what it is.

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