6. "Tropicalia" - Mutations (1998)
and Midnite Vultures
, the album after it, both deal in a certain kind of nostalgia, which makes me wonder if Beck realized he was too close to getting cornered into rock music stardom with Odelay
. Though this isn't a purely acoustic album, it is significantly more downtempo and psychedelic than Odelay
7. "Milk & Honey" - Midnite Vultures (1999)
This is Beck's sexy album. I really don't know what else to call it. I think he was trying to mimic some of the more seductive songs of the 60's and 70's. I don't know if he was trying to ridicule them or not, because I really genuinely love the songs on this album, especially the upbeat "Milk & Honey", and "Debra" which has falsetto vocals, saxophones, and just an all-around Prince feel.
8. "Lost Cause" - Sea Change (2002)
If Midnite Vultures
was an album full of tributes bordering on parody, Sea Chang
e is an album that 100% more sincere and 100% less fun. Which isn't to say that it's a bad album, and Beck has not lost his fascination with experimentation. But he has stepped, for maybe the first time, into writing very personal, reflective lyrics.
9. "Que' Onda Guero" - Guero (2005)
Among the genres Beck dipped into on his previous albums, hip-hop was always present. But with samples of conversations and a lyrical landscape of the street, Beck gives us an actual, pure hip-hop song. And it's great. The rest of Guero
is just as good, with songs like "Scarecrow" blending beats and guitar.
10. "Cellphone's Dead" - The Information (2006)
"Cellphone's Dead" was released over ten years ago. That makes it one year older than the first iPhone. But even in 2006, Beck was writing dystopian songs about the effect of technology on the entertainment industry. Or something. The lyrics of this song are pretty hard to parse. The Information
is a return to the catchy but hyper-experimental, nonsensical Beck of his pre-Sea Change
11. "Profanity Prayers" - Modern Guilt (2008)
This is a dance track for distortion lovers on an album that plays with rock n' roll nostalgia the way Midnite Vultures
played with nostalgia R&B. The album was made with artistic input from members of Gnarls Barkley and Cat Power, blending energy with dreaminess, and stamped with Beck's vague, evocative lyrics.
12. "Heart is a Drum" - Morning Phase (2014)
was Beck's true return to a Sea Change
-like sound, with soft acoustics over soft vocals, not a whole lot of percussion, and just a calmer, more understandable feel altogether. Which may or may not be what you're looking for in a Beck album.
13. "Dreams" - Colors (2017)
"Dreams" was released over two years ago. He gave us a two-year teaser for the album that's slated to come out this week. And if the other singles he's dropped on the path to this album are any indication, it's going to be a good one. Happy listening.