It’s been 6 long years since we’ve heard new material from Beck, and now he is about to release Morning Phase… his whopping 12th studio album.
Upon first listen, it’s very clear that Morning Phase recalls the vibe and emotions of 2002’s Sea Change. This should be no surprise, however, as Mr. Hansen previously explained that he was writing a companion piece to his work from 2002. Although much of Beck’s library is a diverse mish-mash of electric pop, disco, singer-songwriter, rock, what-have-you, he garnered some new respect when taking the more serious tone with Sea Change, and there’s no doubt he won’t do the same here.
The only problem? Morning Phase is not nearly as captivating as Sea Change. They are both, of course, songwriter-y efforts that won’t exactly take you on a thrill ride… and they’re not supposed to. But despite the low key attitude, Sea Change gave us some stand out tracks with “Paper Tigers”, “Lonesome Tears” that let you have a little of your focus back after being absorbed vy the other tracks on the record. This idea isn’t really present on Morning Phase, as the majority of the album carries the same weight all the way through.
Does that mean it’s a dud, then? Of course not. There is a great collection of songs here: The gentle groove “Say Goodbye” and the big-ness of “Morning Light” are two of the shining moments for me, although the latter makes me want to put on Radiohead’s OK Computer instead. Beck’s songwriting seems just as focused as ever, and if you are a fan of this more mellow direction, then you’ll love what he’s offering on this release.
Bottom Line: A decently solid record by a great artist. Meant to be a companion piece to a previous work, but comes across more as a collection of old b-sides than a companion. I enjoyed it, but wish I heard more “Beck”; less Radiohead and David Gray.
Categories: Album Reviews