Is Beck's Sheet Music Bold or Just Lazy?
  • MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2012

  • Posted by: Amanda Scherker

In case you don't check your Twitter feed or Facebook wall, or however it is you kids get your news these days -- does anybody else feel like a 21-year-old dinosaur? -- Beck just released two singles off his upcoming album, Beck Hansen's Song Reader, to be released in December 2012. But don't race over to Spotify to check it out. These releases are, either earnestly, cheekily or annoyingly, only available in sheet music form. Yes, in the grand tradition of pretty much nobody since the first sound waves were captured on tape, Beck has eschewed the bells and whistles of the recording studio for the good old fashioned ink-on-paper option.

So how should we feel about it? Just when we thought those kooky musicians can't surprise you anymore, this little stunt caught us a little off guard. Beck's likely not hard-up for cash.

As the music world gets more accessible and immediate, with albums being released everywhere for free a hot second after they're recorded, music has become all about instant gratification. And perhaps the easy accessibility of the millions and millions of songs being produced devalues the genuine craftsmanship that goes into the music. Could it be that the Garage Band snare drums detracts from our appreciation for the simple guitar chord sequence and well-honed natural voice? If so, Beck's non-performance performance of releasing the notes on paper could be his way of reminding us about the powerful interaction between the composer, the music, and the audience; of forcing us to do more than just mindlessly listen for a catchy bridge. He's playin' hard to get, and we may not be too mad about it.

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