Based in the underground anti-folk and noise-rock worlds, Beck encompassed all manners 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.
Becoming a touchstone of ‘90s alternative rock comes with eight albums, each of which are characterized by each persona acquired each year. In 1994, Beck Hansen‘s home recorded single “Loser” was released by Bongload Custom Recordings in 1993, where the infamous line, “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me,” became infectious. It was Beck’s first album released in ’94, Mellow Gold, that showcased his passion for music, including attributes of folk, punk, blues, noise and hip-hop. Shortly after critical reviews, he released independent records One Foot In The Grave (K Records) and Stereopathetic Soulmanure (Flipside). After being on the road touring everywhere imaginable including Lollapalooza in ’95, Beck hit the mic in progress of Odelay. It was this double platinum album which earned recognition and praise from the critical community, in addition to album of the year from Rolling Stone, Spin, and Village Voice, among many others. The album also won him two Grammy’s that year, for Best Alternative Performance and Best Male Vocal Performance. Aside from creating a diverse blend unforgettable music, Beck has another creative side. In ’98, Beck helped put together an art installation pairing his own work with his grandfather, Al Hansen. “Beck and Al Hansen: Playing With Matches” made its debut at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and has toured its way to several international museums and galleries. Later that year a quiet, pulsating, psychedelic folk-rock album Mutations was recorded in two weeks and released, followed by Midnite Vultures, a garish party record, part satire and part salute to soul and funk, particularly Prince. We then venture back to the early 2000’s where Beck’s hipster phase created the music for the colorful album, Sea Change in ’02, returning in ’05 and ’06 with Guero and The Information. Finally, Beck decided to take a break until 2008 with his eighth album Modern Guilt. It is now 2013, and Beck has released two new singles, “I Won’t Be Long” and “Gimme”. In addition to his new releases, he is also scheduled to headline the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco, October 19-20 and perform at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Festival (October 26 & 27), Sao Paulo on November 9th at Planeta Terra Festival, and Planeta Terra Argentina’s Tecnopolis in Buenos Aires on November 14. Needless to say, we can expect a new album in the near future, assuming the combination of his past and present sounds of music.
“Beck Reimagines David Bowie’s ‘Sound and Vision'”
- Music News | Beck releases ‘Gimme’ (thejournalist.ie)
- Watch Beck Debut “Wake Up,” A Song He Wrote For Doug Aitken’s Station To Station (stereogum.com)
- Listen to Beck’s Newest Single, “Gimme” (nerdist.com)