Album: Modern Guilt
Label: Interscope Records
As we continue our countdown, we arrive at #6, Beck's Modern Guilt. Typically with any Beck record, you can expect something different than the last one. This does not disappoint those expectations. With the help of producer Danger Mouse, Beck has seemingly reinvented his sound again, this time going for what I heard as a very raw, sort of rock and roll sound, with less experimentation than in the past. Still, this 10-track, few frills rock album is a very straightforward piece of work, especially for Beck, and it's made clear just by looking at the cover art. Does Beck feel that we should all be guilty for the modern world we live in? Should he be guilty? Or is it just a statement about paranoia to the modern world? Perhaps all of the above. Even though I've referred to Modern Guilt as a rock and roll album, the Grammys still consider it alternative music. Though I may disagree, I'm fairly impressed by the amount of nominations albums on this list got.
From the onset, the album seems distant, as if you're hearing it from either the past or future. Intentional, I'm sure, as it promotes introspection- a partial goal of the record. With the subject matter in mind, it doesn't mean that this fairly short album (33 minutes) is without energy. As I said before, it's all rock and roll, and that's what drives it forward. See tracks such as "Gamma Ray" as well as "Youthless," for examples. Not until the final song, "Volcano," does the album give in to the weight of this "modern guilt" and grind to a stop. Up to that point though, feel free to enjoy the other tracks, especially the first four, which are the best, at least in my opinion. For comparisons, I'd recommend checking out The Flaming Lips, The White Stripes and Arcade Fire.
Best Track: "Modern Guilt"
P.S.- I'd like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. We'll be taking a two day break here at Animal Noises, and resuming the countdown on 12/26. Be sure to stop in.