No, I’m not calling Beck an asshole; I’m referring to the song from his 1994 album, One Foot In The Grave. When I first listened to that album, about two years ago, I immediately pegged it as a straight folk album, and forgot about it until a few days ago. Now that I’ve spent some more time with it, I think it’s safe to say my original assumption was dead wrong. Sure, folk is it’s main influence, but there’s a hell of a lot more here than Beck attempting an impression of early Dylan. No, I’d say this is much closer to Blonde On Blonde-era Dylan, just a bit more drugged out. One Foot In The Grave is just 37 minutes long, but it feels like much more. It feels massive, like a sprawling exploration of a young artists abilities, examining folk-rock at it’s most all the disparate points he can find. While it would be hard to guess the artist here would go on to record Midnite Vultures, it’s clear the album is a distant relative of records like Mutations, Sea Change, and even Mellow Gold. At the very least, it’s an interesting excursion for a fan of Odelay-style Beck.
[From One Foot In The Grave, released 1994 on K Records]
Last week I introduced this feature, unsure if it was something I wanted to keep. After reviewing it’s traffic stats at the end of last week, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be seeing this feature every Monday from now on. Today, things are a little different. One of the remixes I included is actually just an alternate version (The Good Times Are Killing Me), and another isn’t an artist remixed, but and artist remixing (Scarecrow). That’s the nice thing about working with artists who are also producers; their back catalog is so damn big, that it’s never hard to find a suitable song to post. I’d more or less forgotten that El-P had remixed Becks Scarecrow until I started working on this post; after all, Guerolito isn’t exactly the type of record that gets heavy rotation from me. But, El-P’s is definitely one of the standout remixes on that album. It’s still Beck’s Scarecrow, but it has El-P’s harsh edge going for it too. The result is a pretty damn good song.
Well, I’ve started working on my top 20 albums of the year list. I’ll be keeping you posted about how it works, and which albums are looking good. First, I’ll explain how I’ll make this list. First, I go though my iTunes library and make a list of all my my favorite albums of the year. Then, I listen to each of those albums, and weed out the list, crossing of some albums, and starring others. The starred albums are the ones I think might have a chance at the #1 spot. So, here’s my progress so far:
The first album I crossed out was Beck’s The Information. It’s a fine album and all, but just not top twenty material. Beck is slowly slipping, and (gasp!) falling into a niche. Both Guero and The Information have sounded dangerously like Odelay. Despite Odelay being a classic, I want to see Beck do something new and daring, as daring as Midnite Vultures and Sea Change. Until then, Beck is just a diversion, not a serious artist.
And what albums have been starred, you ask? Only two so far, Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury and The Knife’s Silent Shout. Despite hating to agree with Pitchfork, if it ended up coming down to those to albums, I think that Silent Shout would beat Hell Hath No Fury without blinking. That’s all for now, expect more later.