Archive for Beck

Review: “War Child Presents: Heroes”

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2009 by 30daysout


This cool little compilation has, at its heart, a pretty interesting idea: take a handful of legendary singers/bands and ask them to identify a current artist to perform cover versions of their songs.  The result is War Child Presents: Heroes, a 16-track disc that aims to benefit children affected by war.  Although the album is a bit uneven, it rocks in its best parts.  So Beck’s garage-rock dismantling of Bob Dylan’s “Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat,” the Kooks’ faithful rendering of “Victoria” by the Kinks, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs channeling the Ramones in “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” are successful because each of these artists understand the context (and the era) that fuels these classics. 

When the performer imposes too much of his or her personality on a song, the result is less satisfying: Rufus Wainwright turns a medley from the Beach Boys’ Smile into a long whine, and Duffy’s too-sultry reading of “Live And Let Die” drains all the excitement out of the song.  And a few choices couldn’t be more right: Bruce Springsteen is dead-on with his choice of The Hold Steady to do “Atlantic City” and TV On The Radio is a perfect fit for David Bowie’s “Heroes.”  I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by this album – try it and you will be too.

MP3: “Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat” by Beck

Stream songs from War Child Presents: Heroes at this MySpace page

Review: “Modern Guilt,” Beck

Posted in Review with tags , on July 8, 2008 by 30daysout

Gotta hand it to Beck, at least he’s consistent in his inconsistency.  His newest, Modern Guilt, isn’t what one would expected to follow the generally well-received Guero and The Information.  Moody, backward-looking, trippy … Modern Guilt is all of these things, but it still kinda drags even though the whole album is little more than a half hour long.  Producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) puts a retro sheen on the proceedings, and occasionally the result is engaging.  “Volcano,” which closes the album, is Beck’s most personal song to date and is genuinely affecting.  “Gamma Ray,’ with its B-52s-like surf beat, picks up the tempo and would make a nice single.  “Orphans,” a rocker, and “Chemtrails” sound like they might be visiting from some of Beck’s other, better albums.  If you are not already a Beck fan, Modern Guilt is probably not the introduction that will hook you on this artist’s music.

MP3: “Modern Guilt”

MP3: “Gamma Ray”

Beck official website