Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Beck - Cellphone's Dead

(Interscope, 2006)

Sleek, well-produced robo-funk on “Cellphone’s Dead” that stakes out a stylistic middle-ground of sorts between Midnite Vultures and Odelay. The song is even bookended by a rolling, faintly tropical percussion-based jam that recalls the Mutations era. Appealing on paper, perhaps, but there’s no strong hook anywhere, and the track, not the best choice for a single, has simply never grabbed me. It’s actually a perfect example of the type of inoffensive mediocrity that Beck is prone to churning out these days… I don’t mind the song while it’s playing – might even enjoy it – but once the needle lifts I’ve already forgotten it and feel no need to play the thing again.

However, let’s give credit where it’s due: “O Menina” (which appears on some versions of the album as a bonus track) is fun; it’s a hand-clappin’, cowbell-clankin’ half-rap that grooves a whole lot looser than anything Beck has done in years, even if it is far too brief. Proof the dude can still pull it off from time to time.

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