Beck – Colors Review 


Beck. The guy who gifted us with Loser. The guy who married sulky folk with hip hop undertones and a Beatles-like receptivity. The guy who shaped, formed and inspired so much of nineties and noughties newness. In a career spanning over 30 years, and now 13 albums under his belt, 47-year-old Beck has ridden the waves of the industry and explored many different musical avenues. So his brand new exciting album Colors is…a pop album?

Actually, it’s a very good pop album. Beck has weaved modern trends with his classic hearty, ambient core. Titular track Colors pulses with kaleidoscopic chorus vocals and gushing synths, with the highlight being the pipes that follow. The soul of the track comes still comes from the less mechanical elements, with simple percussion remaining a key role. The oldest single on the track comes in the form of Dreams, which persists as one of the strongest on the track list, journeys through chilled rock hues and skipping disco trances, though the pounding lyrics epitomise the track. Up All Night may be the most modern, with shuffling percussion and a surge of synth to signal an anthemic chorus.

Beck has also tackled some different styles. Wow’s feisty rapped lyrics are delivered over ballooning synths – it stands out from the rest of the album in its bubbly hip hop approach. Fix Me is slow and solemn, more reflective of the sombre Morning Phase, though ghostlier. It takes a step back from the prominent instrumentalism that features on the album. I’m So Free is the most rock-centric track more reminiscent of his more angsty days. The roared chorus is paired brilliantly with equally loud guitars.

So despite following conventional pop directions, Beck has put his own spin on it. It’s a predictable idea on paper, but it’s carried out in such a way that you never know what’s around the corner. It pulls so much from Beck past and future. It’s guilt-free, easy listening at its finest.

Beck – Colors: 7/10

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Beck – Up All Night

Beck Hansen is someone we all know as a respected songwriter and accomplished composer and musician; this demonstrated with his first album in six years Morning Phase from 2014. It was a contemplative and graceful record with quaking melodies and beautiful arrangements charging ballads and Neo-Pyschedelic soundscapes. His upcoming tenth studio album Colors couldn’t be more different. He has been releasing singles for this album for almost two years from the first single ‘Dreams’ in 2015 to the latest release ‘Up All Night’; this album has had a marked shift in tone and everything we’ve heard so far has had a lavish Pop treatment and for Beck this signals a venture into unknown territory, but territory he seems at ease in.

‘Up All Night’ will already be embedded firmly into many people’s heads as it featured in the FIFA 17 video game, released a year ago, though this release has been updated slightly. The track features choppy acoustic and piano rhythm sections and jingling lead elements. These are supplemented by big production pieces from pumping beats and staccato strings. The song allows Beck to demonstrate his ability to effortlessly deliver Pop harmonies and fill the limited space of the song with backing vocals to boot. Despite the lavish and rich arrangment and production, Beck retains a confident command of the song and each element that adds to the large sound. Colors is due for a October 13th release and might not be his absolute best, but it will be the most vibrant album he’s ever produced.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Beck – Wow

Beck is an artist who can seemingly take on any musical task and after following on from the sombre and wistful melancholy of the Grammy award winning Morning Phase, he has went on to produce a fine piece of Plastic Pop last year with the single ‘Dreams’ and this has been followed by his latest single ‘Wow’. Stating his intention to originally feature Chance the Rapper on the track, ‘Wow’ is a track full of drum and fill samples, modulated vocals, Beck reliving his rapping prowess and nonsense lyrics that make sense in some bizarre way. It is demonstrative of Beck’s huge production talent and the sheer diversity of his musical arsenal, if there was any doubt. The track is said to be from an upcoming album but so far no details have been released.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Beck – Dreams

Beck has made a fairly rapid return from his Grammy Award Winning exploits of his graceful and sweeping album Morning Phase from last year. It saw him combine everything from Classical to Neo-Psychedelic and was an album closest to a one-man effort than you can get in the 21st Century, with Beck even scoring and conducting the orchestral pieces of his last album. But now with his so far untitled thirteenth album and the first single from it titled ‘Dreams’; Beck has decided to turn lasts year’s methods on their head. ‘Dreams’ is a typically infectious pop tune with it’s snappy beat, sing-a-long vocals and falsettos. It still retains that acoustic instrumentation that Beck is so synonymous with, but there’s nothing thought provoking or contemplative about this track. Though it’s pretty random, it’s delivered with absolute ease and Beck has no problem being a pop-star in this track. The funk and rhythms fade into a warped interlude before sliding back into pop formation again. It’s been suggested that this song serves the purpose of an upbeat track for Beck to play at his shows, but who knows where his next album will land on the musical scale. Just expected the unexpected.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995