38. Beck – “Odelay”

This is a much more mature and coherent effort from the Beck-meister. With the hit-making Dust Brothers in tow, he delivers a killer album.

beck-odelay-album-coverOK, that’s what I thought I’d be saying before I chucked this CD on for some re-listening this morning. It is odd how our memory plays tricks on us.

This album certainly does have several of Beck’s “go to” tracks. New Pollution and Devils Haircut are stand out tunes built around great beats and quite unusual but effective samples. Where It’s At has great vocoder action and a cool and catchy chorus. Sissyneck nails an unexpected country-funk feel.

The remainder isn’t quite as consistent or compelling as I had remembered. He certainly has curtailed his indulgences of the previous release (although Minus is decidely unlistenable), and most tracks deliver some interesting or exciting moments (such as the ‘chorus’ on High 5 (Rock the Catskills). But, overall it isn’t as spectacular as I had assumed.

The ‘highs’ of this album justify its existence in my collection.  I am intrigued to see if it ends up being the best of the Beck opuses on my shelf.

File under: Expectations outflanking reality

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2 responses to “38. Beck – “Odelay”

  1. For me this is the Beck album that best gives a snapshot of what he is an an artist. The infectious beats of New Pollution, the irresistible Devil’s Haircut, the laid back vibe of Jack-Ass, the genre mix ups of Hotwax and Novacane, and the hip hop fused Where It’s At and High 5. While not all tracks are standouts, the lion’s share shows that here is an artist with real musical chops. One of the truly amazing things about this album is that after listening to it you weren’t really sure where he was going to go with the next release.

  2. I agree with Andy – Beck’s very talented, but self-indulgent and meandering. Too much acid (he is from LA after all) and scientology.

    But the standout tracks on this are very, very good, even if Where It’s At sounds like a Beastie Boys out-take.

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