Today, Saturday 26, Beck is coming to the Providence Performing Arts Center. Before I see his concert tonight (expect a review), here’s my chronological picks for the always evolving indie icon’s best songs.
“Loser”- Mellow Gold (1994)
This was the song- four minutes of sublime slacker hip-hop styled folk- that shot a newbie singer-songwriter from New Yok City to the top of the Billboard charts. Surprisingly, it was also his first single from his debut album, a bizarrely experimental offering called Mellow Gold. “Loser”, and live favorite “Beercan”, still stand out twenty years on.
“Devil’s Haircut”- Odelay (1996)
Hrad-rocking electronic opener to Beck’s best loved album, Odelay. Facing criticism of being a one-hit “Loser”, he returned with this genre pastiche of an album that combines folk, hip-hop, country, techno, and hard-rock to create an avant-garde collection of new sounds.
“Where It’s At”- Odelay (1996)
Along with “Loser”, it’s his most famous song; a super-catchy, sample-heavy single with an unforgettable riff.
“Milk & Honey”- Midnite Vultures (1999)
A funky jam that manages to pack innumerable sounds (exuberant drum fills, a horn section, a lazy chorus, machine gun sound-effects) into five minutes.
“The Golden Age”- Sea Change (2002)
After a break-up with his fiance, Beck decided to quiet down. The result is nothing like his eclectic, bustling first four albums. Instead, he returned with a reflective, muted, and sorrowful collection of tunes. The first track, “The Golden Age”, perfectly sets the tone for the album.
“E-Pro”- Guero (2005)
Back to classic-Beck. Electronic-rocker “E-Pro” is a return to the loud, layered sounds of Odelay (it sounds strangely similar to “Devil’s Haircut”).
“Cellphone’s Dead”- The Information (2008)
Beck raps through this funky track, again proving his adeptness at crafting danceable entertainment.
“Blue Moon”- Morning Phase (2014)
After six years without a new album, Beck returned with this Sea Change follow-up: a sweeping, gorgeous group of wonderful songs. Drum-heavy “Blue Moon” is a standout.