Music Review: Becks Modern Guilt’ |

Music Review: Becks Modern Guilt’

MARGARET HAIRRoutt County correspondentSummit County, CO
Special to the Daily

In the first few tracks of his 11th full-length release, Beck sings about abandonment, more abandonment and guilt.This is not Devils Haircut, and this is not Sexx Laws. Instead, Modern Guilt is an often off-kilter and lyrically dire collection of tracks set atop that so-layered-it-feels-minimalist production Modern Guilt teammate Danger Mouse (The Grey Album, Gnarls Barkley) is known for.These songs are not as weird or kitschy or ironic or awesome as Loser and Nicotine & Gravy were, but theyll still good and thats been true of everything Becks put out since whatever album it is you might think is the best.Its not the mad crazy dance party that was Midnight Vultures, and its not the reinvention of pop that was Odelay. But Beck has never been willing to stay in one place. Thats why Loser was so great: It didnt make a bit of sense to combine the things that were combined there, and Becks erratic musical mind found a perfect pairing with that records producers. A similar pairing for Modern Guilt isnt quite as groundbreaking, but it certainly still works.As implied by its title, Modern Guilt isnt the happiest record Beck has made. Definitely, it retains his pan-generational pop sensibilities, but the intent of songs such as Orphans and Youthless is not the same as the self-conscious irony that made Beck famous. Theyre more honest and they harp on more serious subjects, and in some ways, that might come off as contrived, especially when paired with the general atmospheric airiness on all of Modern Guilt.Theres space between lyrics and thoughts on most of the songs here, especially on the title track. They take time to develop, and theyre supported by simple, instrumental motifs, drum machines and synthesizers. Luckily, that production style is a perfect fit for what Beck seems to be going for, considering the opening lines to the mid-record cut Walls.Some days we get a thrill in our brains / Some days it turns into malaise / You see your face in the veneer / Reflected on the surface of fear.Heavy. But, its Beck. The man doesnt make bad records, and he doesnt make the same record twice. Modern Guilt keeps to that trend.

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