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Beck

Initially pegged as something as a voice of a generation when "Loser" turned into a smash crossover success, Beck did wind up crystallizing much of the postmodern ruckus of the '90s alternative explosion, but in unexpected ways. Based in the underground anti-folk and noise rock worlds, Beck encompassed all manner of modern music, drawing in hip-hop, blues, trash rock, pop, soul, lounge music...pretty much any found sound or vinyl dug up from a dusty crate, blurring boundaries and encapsulating how '90s hipsters looked toward the future by foraging through the past. In another time, Beck may have stayed the province of the underground, but he surfaced just as alternative rock turned mainstream, with his 1994 debut Mellow Gold launching "Loser," a hit that crossed over with the velocity of a novelty, a notion Beck quickly punctured with a succession of indie LPs delivered in the wake of Mellow Gold, including the lo-fi folk of One Foot in the Grave, delivered on the K imprint. But the album that truly cemented Beck's place in the pantheon was 1996's Odelay, a co-production with the Dust Brothers that touched upon all of his obsessions, providing a cultural keystone for the decade while telegraphing all his future moves, from the soul prankster of Midnite Vultures to the melancholy troubadour of Sea Change.

Fittingly, Beck came from a distinctly artistic background, the son of string arranger/conductor David Campbell and Bibbe Hansen, a regular at Andy Warhol's Factory whose father was a pivotal contributor to the Fluxus art movement. Adopting the Hansen surname after his father left, Beck grew up in Los Angeles, dropping out of school in the tenth grade to play as a street busker and attend poetry slams. Bashing out blues and folk, Beck wound up assembling a home tape called The Banjo Story before departing for New York, where he operated on the margins of the anti-folk scene without ever breaking into it.

He returned to Los Angeles, where he continued to play clubs, eventually gaining the attention of Bong Load Records, an independent operated by Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf. All parties agreed to pair Beck's fledgling folk with hip-hop beats assembled by producer Karl Stephenson, whose kitchen provided the studio for their first efforts, including "Loser." These tapes remained unreleased as Beck recorded an album's worth of material with Calvin Johnson for the latter's K label, but the first release Beck had was the Flipside single "MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack" and Sonic Enemy's cassette release of Golden Feelings. But what really broke the doors open was Bong Load's 12" single of "Loser," which garnered considerable play in L.A., coinciding with increased underground attention. Soon, Beck signed with Geffen, striking a deal that allowed him to release on independent labels. One of these immediately followed -- Fingerpaint released a 10" record A Western Harvest Field by Moonlight in January 1994 -- before the Geffen debut Mellow Gold appeared in March of 1994.

Naturally, "Loser" was the lead single from Mellow Gold and it turned into an instant smash, boasting a hook that worked as an ironic underground rallying cry and a novelty crossover. Despite many positive reviews, Beck worked overtime to dispel the notion he was a novelty, quickly releasing two indie albums in succession: the noise-skronk Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot in the Grave. Stereopathetic made few waves, but the stripped-back, folky One Foot in the Grave acted as a counterbalance to the gonzo Mellow Gold, illustrating the depths of his talents.

After a furious 1994, Beck laid relatively low in 1995, touring with the fifth Lollapalooza in between working on a new album with the production team the Dust Brothers, who had collaborated with the Beastie Boys on their landmark 1989 Paul's Boutique. The resulting album, Odelay, appeared in June 1996, preceded by the lanky, funky single "Where It's At," which would go on to win the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal. Odelay piled up acclaim and hits -- "Devil's Haircut," "Jack-A**," and "The New Pollution" all charted around the world -- and the record went double platinum, becoming a touchstone of '90s alternative rock. An outtake from the album, "Deadweight," appeared on the soundtrack to Danny Boyle's 1997 film A Life Less Ordinary, then Beck set to work on his next album with producer Nigel Godrich, who had just worked with Radiohead on OK Computer. Their collaboration, originally slated for an indie release but moved to Geffen, thereby setting a precedent where no future Beck LP would be released on an indie (something worked out in the courts the following year), traded futuristic rock -- either the joyous collage of Odelay or the dystopia of OK Computer -- for a quiet, pulsating, psychedelic folk-rock album called Mutations. Riding high on Odelay, the album charted well without turning out any major hits, although it did garner a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance.

Beck took another abrupt change in musical direction in 1999 with Midnite Vultures, a garish party record that was part satire and part salute to soul and funk, particularly Prince. Reviews were divided between ecstatic and skeptical, but the album had some real hits with "Sexx Laws" and "Deborah," and in some ways it was the apex of Beck's hipster prankster phase, a persona he shed with his next album, 2002's Sea Change. Recorded in the wake of a romantic breakup, Sea Change was another Godrich production, but it was gentle and mournful, lacking some of the gritty underpinnings of Mutations yet retaining the psychedelia -- and that psychedelic edge was brought out in the supporting tour when Beck hired the Flaming Lips as his supporting band. The tour was well received but there were some tensions, as reported by Lips leader Wayne Coyne later.

After an extended break -- the longest he had taken between albums to date -- Beck returned in 2005 with Guero, an album that reunited him with the Dust Brothers and consciously evoked Odelay. Guero launched a few hits, including "E-Pro" and "Hell Yes," and was followed within months by Guerolito, a remixed version of the entire album. Beck continued in this direction the following year with The Information, but its Nigel Godrich production kept the album streamlined and emphasized the darker undercurrents in the songs. Some of that darkness could be heard on his eighth album, Modern Guilt, a 2008 release produced by Danger Mouse, marking his first time in 14 years that he worked with a producer who wasn't the Dust Brothers or Godrich.

Modern Guilt performed respectably -- it debuted at eight on the U.S. Billboard charts and received strong reviews -- but Beck spent the next several years relatively quiet. In 2009, he began actively pursuing a career as a producer, collaborating with Charlotte Gainsbourg on her acclaimed IRM album; two years later, he produced Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts and Mirror Traffic by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. He dipped his toe back into solo recording on the soundtrack to the 2010 Edgar Wright film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but between 2009 and 2010 much of his studio energy was devoted to his Record Club, where he and a loose collective of friends covered classic albums in their entirety; the albums covered included The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, and INXS' Kick. Beck returned to original material in 2012 via Song Reader, a collection of sheet music of 20 new, unrecorded songs; Beck did not record versions of these songs but did appear at Song Reader concerts featuring other musicians. Early in 2014, Beck released Morning Phase, his first new album in nearly six years and first album for Capitol Records. Described by the singer/songwriter as a "companion piece" to 2002's Sea Change, Morning Phase was released in February 2014, preceded by the singles "Blue Moon" and "Waking Light." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Beck

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Track List: Blue Moon (Single)

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Track List: Defriended (Single)

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Track List: Gimme (Single)

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Track List: I Just Started Hating Some People Today (Single)

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Track List: I Won't Be Long (Single)

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Track List: Looking For A Sign (Single)

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Track List: Timebomb (Radio Single)

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Track List: Waking Light (Single)

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Track List: Wave (Single)

Comments

Loser baby so just kill me
this song is so funny,the lyrics make no sense...
Send a Message to Her is missing from the Guero track listing. If an artist chooses to withhold a track from Pandora, an example of the track should still be available in order to promote the album.
flysstee
How did drive-by body piercing not catch on?
He is his usual amazing
How did I now just find this band?
Very gurd
A musical genius
blowjs!!!!
Lol
Essence of Moody Blues
Beck sounded like a smooth singer on SNL with the String accomp, many props.
I've got 2 turntables and 2 microfones
Where it's at
bog
I love to listen to the growth of their music style throughout the years. Its rare to have all good music throughout the genre shuffles.
d(^∇^)b
Such an awesome band. The album guero by itself has got some of the best beats. Stayclassssy . . .
Two turn tables and a microphone
Gettin crazy with the cheese wiz!
^_^
Great song
Guero is the best Beck album ever! Listen to the whole thing..No disapointmen t s !
After Mellow Gold and Odelay! I went another direction, Lost Cause hits pretty close to home.
dsatoris
Soul of a Man.
Beck is pretty awesome. Hey, check out my profile, I've got a lot of different music interests!
Don't' t read this. Oh no, now Beck will is going to make you stain your underwear.
Orphans is one of my favorite songs from Beck
d(-_-)b
soybiofuel
great music ....2BAD losers post spam
getagripspil l s
Loser's lyrics are hilarious
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
He's a loser baby
I love everything that Beck has ever done. Listen to Guero all the way through. Every song kicks a**! So many memories with that album!
maillec
Soy un prepedor
pattigarlow
His song lost cause is in beyond two souls
My fav album of his thru and thru. Unique groove whole way throughout. Beck in his prime wo multitudes realizing it
Haaahhha @mostspectac u l a r 1 stop trying to get attention if you don't like it don't talk about it.
jeffreymqs64 1
Guys if you want to make a few extra bucks per day using your computer go to BLUDOS.COM You can take surveys for cash there. You can just try it. It's FREE.
Go It Alone is one of his best, for sure!
Beck sucks.
claricentp91 7
I'm making around $70+ daily by just answering surveys from home. You can do the same thing just visit BLUDOS.COM (tHANK mE).
I'm making around $20 hourly by getting a f**king job.
shawnnavuz71 1
I'm making around $70+ daily by just answering surveys from home. You can do the same thing just visit BLUDOS.COM (tHANK mE).
It's too bad about the scientology.
I saw Beck at the state fair, and he had a kitchen set up on stage he played percussion with two spoons on the kitchen stuff, it was awesome
Scarecrow = favorite song
I really love his music, but he's a member of Scientology -.-
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life however if you do not post this comment to at least three songs, you'll die in two days. Now you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes. When it's done press F6 your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is scary because it actually works.
This freaked me out This isn't fake. Apparently if you copy and paste this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If you break the chain you will see a dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry
Is he talking about Roxys?
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