REX’S RATING: 3.5 / 10
“Heart Is A Drum”
Beck is like that cool friend in college who you would only see at party whilst you’re both drunk out your minds, and you end up having these epic conversations about life, music, politics and hobos. But after a decade or so the same old college parties get boring, the same debates get less interesting, and your “cool” friend ended up dropping out of school and living in his/her parent’s basement for the rest of his/her life. That’s pretty much how I feel about Beck now that I’ve listened to Morning Phase.
Beck’s music has always been all over the map genre-wise on purpose, so it seems as though this go-around, much like his 2002 album Sea Change (which is apparently a “companion” record to Morning Phase), he’s decided to release an album that has one chilled out, mellow song after another. Which is all fine and dandy when all of the songs are, you know…interesting. But given that we all know that Beck has the ability to flex his musical muscles to 110%, hearing him give 65% on this album because he’s like, so chill now man, just doesn’t sit well with me at all.
I’m not going to pull a Beck and force you to spend 47 minutes of your life trying to understand a point that can be summed up in two seconds: Morning Phase is booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooring. And not boring as in “oh shit, did I just fall asleep?” kind of boring (although I did have a few snore sessions here and there…) I’m talking full-out “hit me in the face with a stick repeatedly until this album is over” kind of boring.
Take the intro track “Cycle,” for instance; (which was conducted by Beck’s father David Campbell). Usually when an album starts off with a (dun-dun duuun) pointless instrumental track, its purpose is to introduce something. Anything! Anything but an album full of boring songs. What’s the point of the build-up if the record doesn’t go anywhere??
And as a whole the album may be complete shit, but there are a few individual qualities hidden here and there that stand out. There’s beautiful guitar sections, hypnotizing harmonies, but other than that…that’s about it. I mean…I don’t know what you want me to say. I can’t make something out of nothing. I could honestly not tell you one hook or “pop” that’s hidden in any of the songs, besides a little bit of country twang on the appropriately titled “Country Down” the little falsetto on “Morning,” and the trancey folk backbeat on “Heart Is A Drum.” ”Wave” was the only track that really made “sense” because I felt I could get lost in it, which is the kind of theme I think Beck was trying to get at here…
But don’t let this review deter you from checking the album out, because for some strange reason it’s been getting rave reviews left, right and center; so maybe I’m missing something? That or people have their heads stuck so far up Beck’s ass…I mean, there must have been at least one person in the studio who wanted to speak up and say “Damn dude, do you plan on picking it up just a little at some point?” But I can’t blame them studio folks when I know for a fact I wouldn’t have had enough balls to go up to Beck and criticize his music – that’s what hiding behind a music blog is for!!
Nevertheless this album forced me to come to the realization that my favourite musicians will always get older, animals will always die, Miley Cyrus will probably live to be 94, and college friends who partied too hard end up getting fat and losery. Yes, change is bound to happen, but I’m not going to force myself into a “morning person phase” just to accept it.