No jamboree hiphops here.
Maybe it’s the Scientology thing or maybe it’s because Futurama captured him perfectly with the Becktionary and rhyming Becktionary observances but the coverage and praise that Beck gets these days is no way indicative of the albums he produces.
No, the Beck of 2008 is not the match of Beck of 1998 and earlier but there are not many artists who have survived this long and are still releasing quality stuff. ‘Modern Guilt’ has a genuinely few moments that help you realise that Beck is still capable of turning out some classic tracks, which makes the decision to release ‘Gamma Ray’ slightly infuriating.
For an artist who has made a career from genre flipping and switching its some going that this song sounds decidedly un-Beck like but it could have come from any of the current trend of US trendie indie acts. On the hand, it shows Beck is still where its at (sorry) but is he now following what is hip as opposed to setting the trends?
Even the lyrics on ‘Gamma Ray’ seem a bit tired and its unlikely this song is going to be enough to win back some of the fans who were floored by the ‘Loser’ and ‘Odelay’ days. There is plenty to enjoy on ‘Modern Guilt’, the Cat Power tracks especially but this slice of blandness isn’t going to have Beck back at the top. He still hs the power, he just needs to use it a bit more often.