Thursday, April 27, 2006

#7 Beck's Odelay

This one's for you pop.

Beck transcended all types of pop music with Odelay. He blends rock, hip-hop, folk, country, and various other genres to form a style all his own. This was probably the third cd I actually owned back in 1996. Not sure if I had more at this point, but regardless, it was still an early developmental stage in my love for music. Odelay began my love affair with Beck. I liked "Loser" before that, but didn't have Mellow Gold for a while. It's hard to describe the feeling one gets when listening to this album. Unlike any other Beck album, I feel like I get transported to a different country that doesn't exist where this is there world music. Every other album has a realistic feel to it (maybe minus Stereopathetic Soul Manure) but Odelay takes on a skin and flesh I've never heard of before. I think this new sound that Beck was emitting was because he recorded the album with The Dust Brothers (except "Ramshackle" which was with a band called Bong Load). The album is a party album with some ridiculously clever and sometimes absurd lyrics. This is Beck's style though. Absurdity in a sea of structure and sound. This is why Odelay is so important. It was out in 96 among rock albums that seemed to be totally different than this. Regardless, I can't even think of other albums this ahead of its time in the 90s.

From the starting riff of "Devil's Haircut" with it's catchy bass line and drowned out drums, you know where this album is going to take you. It's one of Beck's finest singles and definitely my favorite first track for a Beck album.

"Hotwax" takes you on another journey in sound that mixes a lot of random things that come at you at all directions. Slide guitar, moog, and God knows what else, Beck channels the Eno style of bringing ridiculous sound sources and getting instruments to sound like nothing they ever thought they could to a new level of awesome.

"Lord Only Knows" screams in your face immediately and sounds like an updated version of a song that would have appeared on One Foot in the Grave. With it's folky/country feel imbedded in the Dust Brother production, it brings the country music feel of this new world music that we are hearing from Beck on Odelay.

"The New Polution" is one of the best hit songs of the 90's and has one of my personal favorite dance beats backing it up. If you don't start to move your body to this jam, you have problems. "Where It's At" also takes on this turn of great dance song with its two turntables and a microphone approach to rockin'.

All the sogns on this album deserve dissection, but I don't have too much time on my hands. So here is a quick rundown of the key tracks that deserve it. "Jackass" is the poignant turn on the album with its moody feel and lyrics. One of my personal fav Beck tracks. "Ramshackle" is the somewhat depressing, yetr beautiful end to an altogether insane album that careens out of control and lands right in the lap of a beautiful simple song much in the vein of what Beck's Sea Change and Mutations would feel like.

Overall, this is another one of those albums that formed the way I listen to music. Fun, silly, and smart all at once, Beck's Odelay is a treasure of my youth that has lasting power in the grand scheme of my favorite music.


Steve said...

It's funny how on one hand, Beck is always thought of maturing and progressing with his later albums, but on the other, his best album is one of his earliest.

Face of Spades said...

Brilliant post. This was my second CD ever, and it was given to me by a friend who listened to it and didn't like anything else on it besides Where It's At. What Ever.

This was brilliant because he built his whole "genre-marrying" reputation on this album, pretty much, and he did it again on Mutations, and then just quit the biz and invented his own damn genre.

He's still brilliant but he's become so much more serious. I guess that's what passing 30 does to you. But the wacked-out silliness of songs like Loser, Burnt Orange Peel, and Hotwax have been replaced by more intelligent and calculated silliness and outright sobriety. Which is cool, but I miss the old days.

Errrrgh I've only had three hours of sleep

Face of Spades said...

Yeah really. I guess I like to call things "brilliant".

sleep is underrated.

Brilliantly underrated.

Bina007 said...

Great post, not least because it inspired me to dig out a CD I hadn't heard in years. Man oh man, you are not wrong. It's a great album.