Beck's newest album is called Modern Guilt. It will be released in the United Kingdom on July 7th and in the United States on July 8th. Modern Guilt has only 10 tracks and is just under 34 minutes, making it the most concise album of Beck's career. His last album, 2006's The Information had 15 tracks and was over 61 minutes long. What follow is a track by track look at Modern Guilt.
1. "Orphans" I think this may be my early favorite on the album. It has such a transfixing strange sound to it.
It's totally spaced out but it still has a great drum beat at the same time. It also features one of my favorite Beck vocals I've heard in some time. Cat Power adds some backing vocals but you will have to be listening closely to hear them. She's also heard in the background of track #6. 2.
"Gamma Ray" This one actually reminds me strangely enough of some sort of psychedelic tinged surf rock song at first but then it turns into something else entirely. It has a great classic rock sound but it's also distorted and strange at the same. This is definitely some of the best production I've heard in quite some time, Danger Mouse deserves a lot of credit for what he's done on this album.
The album was actually produced with the help of Danger Mouse of "Grey Album" & Gnarls Barkley fame. 3. "Chem Trails" This is my other early contender for favorite song on the album.
Beck's vocals sound unlike any vocal I've heard from him before. Everything is phased out, it's totally tripped out but the song remains catchy with big drums and a great bass line that propel the song forward. 4. "Modern Guilt" Funky drums and fuzzy atmospherics grab my attention at first. But it's really just a great catchy pop song that has a fantastic groove and cool guitar riffs.
5. "Youthless" This album just keeps getting better and better. This is another excellent song that includes a very catchy chopped up sounding chorus. 6. "Walls" A warped sounding string section catches the interest right away. Again, it's a very strange sounding song but the vocal line itself is quite catchy, at it's heart it's another great pop song but with a lot of experimental flourishes.
7. "Replica" Skittering beats propel this song. It sounds somewhat like the drums are in double time or perhaps even quadruple time in comparison with the rest of the music. Quite unusual. 8. "Soul Of A Man" This one actually reminds me somewhat of Beck's Mellow Gold days although it's really not that similar to anything in particular.
It's another original song. That's probably the real feat of this album, the originality of it. For someone who has already given us so much great original music, it's amazing that Beck is still pulling new tricks. 9. "Profanity Prayers" Wow. Just another great song.
Literally every song on this album is a winner. This may be the tightest, most consistently great album of Beck's career. While Guero & particularly The Information had some great moments, they both sometimes felt like they dragged on too long with too many songs that weren't quite as great as the ones that were around them. That's not the case with Modern Guilt. Every song sounds necessary and doesn't let you down. 10.
"Volcano" I know I said "Orphans" and "Chemtrails" were the two tracks in the running for my favorite track, but I think this one is right there as well. It's a song that has the depth of feeling of it of a Sea Change song but it's produced and arranged in a very Modern Guilt way, and I quite like the Modern Guilt way. Copyright (c) 2008 Marvin J Markus.
Marvin J. Markus is a contributor to the Music By Day Psychedelic Music Blog. Singorama will make you a great singer.