As Mildly Pleased’s resident Beck fan and someone who has gone on the record that Sea Change is one of Beck’s best albums, it’s pretty difficult to contain the glee I have for Beck’s first album in six years. I knew it was coming, I had a sense of the vibe he was going for because of all the singles that he’s put out in the interim since Modern Guilt, but I was a little concerned that Beck maybe didn’t have any more albums in him. After all, his last major release was a songbook he intends to never record.
Not that Beck hasn’t done neat things since 2008. I enjoyed his contributions to the video game Sound Shapes, particularly the song “Cities,” which I wish he would actually release as a real song. He also did that “Sound and Vision” cover thing last year, which is either awesome or extremely pretentious, I’m not quite sure. And then there are all the singles that have popped up in my Rdio feed since 2013, a few of which didn’t even make it onto Morning Phase. I liked those too. Basically, Beck’s done enough to keep people like me interested over a gap long enough that some fans probably did lose interest.
But this album rewards long-time Beck fans. The first track on Morning Phase, “Morning,” is clearly evocative of “Golden Age,” one of the simplest, and best, songs he ever recorded. There are highs and lows as the album continues, but I’ve found it a consistent source of aural entertainment for a couple weeks already. Now into his 40s, Beck’s days of rap rock are long over. Despite the title, I doubt this album is representative of Beck in any sort of a funk like he was on Sea Change – this is no phase. And that’s great, because I like what he’s doing. I just hope he keeps actually, you know, recording it and making it available.
Favorite Tracks: “Morning,” “Blue Moon,” “Waking Light”