There’s nothing to feel guilty about if you find yourself loving the new Beck album Modern Guilt because it really is a great album.
The album kicks off with the ambient track “Orphans.” Combined with the haunting vocals of Cat Power and thought-provoking lyrics like “I stand beside myself so I’m not alone,” Beck sets a beautiful, but eery mood that lasts throughout the album.
The airiness of the vocals, reminiscent of Radiohead, form a tension with the distorted effects and constantly changing tempos. This tension causes the listener to slightly cringe, but become ensnared in the delicate balance of this combination. By the end of the album, Beck brilliantly recreates in his listener the feelings of helplessness and guilt that he sings about on the album.
This tension is especially apparent on “Walls.” A track where the repetitious sound of the descending notes mimics the effect of falling walls, while Beck chillingly sings over the cool bass line, “Hey what you gonna do when these walls are falling down, falling down, on you?”
Although Beck’s traded in his signature acoustic guitar for this electronica-laden sound, this is one of Beck’s strongest releases to date. He still shines lyrically as is shown in lines like, “I’ve been drifting on this wave so long, I don’t know if it’s already crashed on the shore.” His multi-instrumental talents are also present in full force as the instrumental layering of drum effects, strings, keys and trumpets builds with each track. Beck’s techniques are the same, but he manages to create a completely different sound than before.
Modern Guilt is released by Interscope on July 8, 2008. This is not an album I would miss. Although it doesn’t deal with happy subjects, it will still make your ears happy.
02. Gamma Ray
04. Modern Guilt
08. Soul Of A Man
09. Profanity Prayers
Aug 21 – Grand Sierra Resort and Casino / Reno, NV
Aug 22 – Golden Gate Park / San Francisco, CA
Aug 24 – Les Schwab Amphitheater / Bend, or US
Aug 27 – Royal Theatre / Victoria, BC, Canada
Aug 28 – Orpheum Theater / Vancouver, Canada
Aug 30 – Bumbershoot / Seattle, WA
Sept 19 – San Diego Street Scene Festival / San Diego, CA
Sept 20 – Hollywood Bowl/ Los Angeles, CA
Sept 27 – Austin City Limits / Austin, TX
Written by Bethany