zaterdag 28 oktober 2017

Colors. Beck

Beck is one of those artists that over the past quarter of a century always received favourable reviews from critics. Somehow the man never reached me. From the horrible 'Loser' to whatever came after, I never truly heard something that enticed me listen to his music. For reasons unknown to me that changed with 'Morning Phase' (read here: Come 2017 and I at least await Colors with a favourable ear.

From interviews in the past I understood that his record company allowed Beck to basically do whatever he liked; and he did. Very different albums saw the light of day. That is no different for Colors. Upbeat pop and dance is what the clock strikes in the fall of 2017. 'Sussudio' all over again it seems, with just a lighter, less Michael Jackson touch, than in Phil Collins' hit from the mid 80s. Beck creates the lightests of moods possible. The fun element is so high my dental enamel is in danger of bursting with all the catastrophic results imaginable to go.

Having lived in 'The Seventh Heaven' for several years in the 80s and having been responsible for the music on the parties we held there in the common room, I think I'm an expert on fun songs with an 80s vibe.

There's not a song on Colors that could pass for an 80s song. For that the songs are to powerful and organic in sound. The songs hold sounds and elements from the gloomy age, the light in them are like the purest pop songs from the 60s. That is where Colors succeeds for 100%. It seems to celebrate life, to celebrate 'I'm So Free' and all the good things that come with it. Somewhere I read that Beck said that it is far easier to write sad songs. The search for the happy sounding songs worked quite well actually.

Together with ex-bandmember and now quite famous producer Greg Kurstin Beck made this album. Among them they played nearly all the instruments on Colors. Listening a little better to the album I spot some similarities to what Danger Mouse does with James Mercer as Broken Bells, with Danger Mouse being a former producer of Beck. The latter wins where keeping the happy mood is concerned though.

What Colors excels in, is mixing the soul/disco sound of the 70s with alternative pop and rock. The drums, bass and guitars behind the disco guitar and rhythms make for an interesting hybrid that works really well. Time doesn't seem to get a grip on Beck Hansen from the photo's, that could be nicely shopped of course. Somehow like Thurston Moore until fairly recently, the boylike face remains young and smooth. It makes the music so much easier to believe in. "Dreams, she's making me high", Beck sings in 'Dreams'. With its typical 80s synth sound and upbeat feel no substance of any sort, legal or illegal, is needed to get into the state mentioned in the song.

The hip hop part of the album, 'Wow', could have been left out as far as I'm concerned. It's a song like this that makes the album just too long for me. 'Up All Night' makes up instantly. The Madchester rhythm is tight, fun and so danceable. Followed by a (sort of) ballad called 'Square One'. It all ends with 'Fix Me'. Another beautiful ballad in which Beck sets himself free. Fix Me? Sorry Mr. Hansen, but with an album like this, there seems to be no need for fixing anything if it ain't broke.

Beck is able to keep up the mood right up to the end and that leads me to the conclusion that I have two Beck albums I like on my side. It seems miracles have not left this world after all.


You can listen to 'Up All Night' here:

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