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Beck – Odelay (1996)

April 17, 2014

[Album 305/1001]220px-Odelay

Friend type #2: One you didn’t necessarily hit it off with right away but have since done a 180.

I did not like Loser.  Not even a smidge.  “I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me.”  What the?

Granted it was ’94 and if it wasn’t a band playing guitars I generally didn’t get it.

Eventually, I realized slide guitar + sitar = spectacular and I think Odelay was a turning point.

It’s albums like this that remind me to not instinctively come out swinging against an album or artist; chances are, after multiple listens, my foot might feel awfully deep in my mouth.

Where it’s At is a classic, and surprisingly educational.  Thanks to the line, “I got 2 turntables and I microphone,” I learned about basic DJ equipment requirements.

Also gleaned from the tune?  The term my family uses to describe the liquor store: the “bottles and cans” store.

I’m struggling to highlight other individual tunes as the record works so well as a complete entity.  Occasionally the distorted vocals can veer into irritating territory but for the most part, it’s a stellar set.

After re-exploring, this is likely back on the podium as my third favourite Beck record, behind Mutations and Guero.

I was shocked to learn Odelay is Beck’s 5th studio album.  I had always assumed it was a sophomore follow-up to Mellow Gold (actually studio album #3).

Which I suppose proves the point that even fans will never know what to expect from Beck.

He’s a brilliant artist in that upon hearing any Beck song, you instantly know it’s Beck but at the same time, no two records (or songs for that matter) are at all alike.

I can’t think of too many artists that have accomplished the same feat.

From → 1990s

  1. I have such a love/hate with Beck and I can’t explain it. When I hear his singles on the radio, I find them irresistible. But I DON’T…LIKE…BECK! Does that make any sense?

    This record is absolutely brilliant sonically.

    • That’s funny – I was originally considering one of those dichotomies for my review. Something like, there are 2 kinds of people in the World: Beck fans and non-Beck fans.

      I’m glad I didn’t as Mike, you seem to be in a Category #3 – the non-Beck fan that can’t turn away!

      The amount of ear candy he throws into his records is unbelievable – it was only after reading the lyrics to his later tune ‘Que Onda Guero’ that I learned somebody was shouting “Michael Bolton in the background. Now it’s a part I look forward to!

      • I look forward to anything with Michael Bolton.

        I haven’t reviewed them yet but I recently acquired Japanese reissues of his first two albums with the rock band Blackjack.

      • I enjoyed that SNL digital short where Michael Bolton was a huge movie fan, singing about Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.

        Blackjack? I’m not familiar – I eagerly await the reviews!

      • Blackjack were cheesey fun. Not good enough for your B-list I’m afraid — but not bad.

      • It’s very Journey-esque I would say, but more soul-influenced.

  2. beck didn’t dig ‘loser’ either, i saw him in london, gosh when mellow gold came out, and he refused to play it…eh…i dig it though…

    • When I saw Weezer years ago, they had a similar refusak to play songs from their album Pinkerton – the drummer would keep teasing with the intro to el scorcho but then go on to something else!

  3. Beck is a weird one for me. I love the idea of him, and have all his albums, but he kind of leaves me cold. His vocals are just kind of soulless. His best songs are great, but his worst are pretty average.

    • I’ve definitely found that with some artists – “the idea” is more appealing than the artist itself.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Divine Comedy – Casanova (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray (1992) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. Beck – Sea Change (2002) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. Beck – Guero (2005) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – I See a Darkness (1999) | 1001albumsin10years
  6. 1996 | 1001albumsin10years

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