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Beck – Modern Guilt – Closely-related reviewers?

Modern Guilt, the eighth LP from perennial shape-shifter Beck, is upon us, and with it come an avalanche of reviews from wildly differing publications. Yet it fell to Drowned In Sound to give us a rare preview review of the album,¬†about a month ago, where, having attended an XL Recordings listening party, Sean Adams heaped praise upon it. Just this morning, I drove over to Pitchfork to read their review of the same album (in which they awarded it a 7.0 score, giving it some decent justification), and now, this evening, turning to Drowned In Sound on a whim, in actual fact looking for another review of Mercury, which I’ve already approached with a smile earlier on this evening, what should I find but another review of Modern Guilt, penned by Dan Wale.

So far, so normal. It’s perfectly fine to publish a preview, and then a review. But I advise you to read both the Pitchfork review and then the new DiS review side by side, and perhaps comment on the numerous similarities in detail and in tone between both reviews. I think someone’s got a case of cold feet.

Sorry if I sound ridiculously paranoid, but it appears that Mr. Wale has given to his readers a veritable simulacrum of the review provided by a rival publication earlier on today.


Beck – Chemtrails.

While I don’t think every album Beck has made is consistently great, I have always applauded him for the great songs he writes, and his love of working with innovative producers to give each album such a unique fit and finish. Odelay was probably his most consistently enjoyable album: though it encompassed a wide variety of styles and song structures, the delightful cut-n-paste samples from The Dust Brothers gave everything a slightly cronky, slightly wonky, very much alluring feel. 2005’s Guero was, in part, a return to that style – after all, Beck was working with the Dust Brothers once again – but, for me, most of the second half of the album melded into one homogenous lump, leaving the album sounding very front-loaded. While Earthquake Weather and Missing were two of my favourite, and most inventive, songs of that year, tracks like Scarecrow and Go It Alone were fairly anonymous.

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