Morning Phase by Beck (Album of the Week)

beck__25924_zoomAlbum: Morning Phase

Artist: Beck

Year: 2014

Details: 13 songs; 48 minutes

Who’s Choice: Deliberate Obfuscation


This one is pure pleasure. I love every note of it. I love every sound of it. 

A friend last night commented that he liked that Beck is such a shape shifter. I like that too. For me, I like different versions of Beck differently. The initial Beck that I came to know – the Beck of Odelay – is fun and a little bit goofy. He had a Devil’s haircut in his mind, and two turntables and a microphone. But when Beck got his heart broken and released Sea Change, the potential of his soulful songwriter came through. 

Morning Phase brings that soul out again. The cohesion of this album seems to circle around regret, but it is couched in sounds of renewal. But I don’t want to get all psychotherapy on this. I just want to enjoy it for the beauty that it brings and the happiness that I feel listening to an artist that I love bringing his game. Similarly, Dan, over at Gone Mild also eschews the published reviews of this album that go overboard in their interpretation. We just want to bask in the goodness.

The album starts out with forty seconds of, what I counted to be nine major chord changes performed by a beautifully expanding orchestra. (Can I also say that I think that it is charming that Beck worked with his Dad on the orchestration of this album) After those forty seconds, in comes Beck’s strumming acoustic guitar that catches the last change gracefully. That grace flows through the rest of the forty-seven minutes of the album. The strings come back in Wave, about halfway through the album. For that one, Beck voices dreamy lyrics that match the inflections of the chord changes. It is a really haunting song.

I could go on, but because I am finding it rather difficult to come up with anything nearing profound to write about this album, I will finish this up with one song – Blackbird Chain. And I am not going to write about it. Please listen to it. 


Next Up: Kristie Stremel’s Songwriter