Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beck - Tropicalia

(Geffen, 1998)

Beck gets all sun-drenched on the first Mutations single, piggybacking on elements of the titular musical movement, throwing in some fat electro-squelch, and delivering the lyrics in his new and improved singing voice. There’s a sleeker, more organic feel here as Nigel Godrich enters the production picture and the samples exit; it’s also worth mentioning that the tight, sympathetic band playing on “Tropicalia” had been working together through the long years of Odelay touring. There’s a similarly appealing sound on “Halo of Gold,” a Skip Spence cover whose original bare-bones outlines Beck fills in, creating a rich, multisectioned bit of alternately twangy and fuzzy Beckpop. There’s almost a cut-and-paste sensibility at work here, especially when the song breaks into its closing, percussive “Cecilia” (!!) homage.

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