November 1, 2017
Beck’s new album Colors, released on October 16, made a splash in the Alternative Rock world, experimenting with new sounds while sourcing inspiration from classic bands, such as The Beatles and The Kinks. But does it live up to the legendary artist’s modest origins?
Colors has now definitely departed from the deep melancholy of Sea Change and the careful deliberation of Morning Phase. The new Beck is spontaneously producing danceable, catchy beats such as “Up All Night” and “Square One.”
The album starts off with the wandering but convincing dance groove of Colors, also likely winning the award for the most sensory and strange music video. The video’s strangeness was amplified by the fact that the video consisted only of colored slime being zoomed in on and pushed around.
However, the fairly average “Colors” was mostly made up for by the variety of the songs, from piano-driven “Dear Life” to the rap-like “I’m So Free,” catering to a wide range of tastes that his audience acquired over the last twenty years. According to Rolling Stone, the venerable Beck easily shape-shifts his sonic persona which few others have done with “range, wit or soul,” according to Rolling Stone.
During Beck’s early years, the days of Odelay! and Mellow Gold, it was easily evident that Beck had two types of albums: serious relationship-pertinent breakup albums and intentionally fun, chart-topping albums. Colors is one of the fun albums.
“Up All Night“
The slick, fast-paced “Up All Night” captivates listeners with the rhythmically repeating lyrics, “just want to stay up all night with you,” accompanied only by a persistent beat and permeating synths. This is arguably the most visible song on the album, cropping up countless times on Sirius XM and mainstream radio stations. The song’s music video was even described as “hallucinatory” by Rolling Stone.
Here’s a snippet of “Up All Night”.
Does he source from Coldplay?
When one takes a close look at the album, they see titles such as “Square One” and “Fix Me.” These titles echo the realm of Coldplay, with the title “Square One” ostensibly being copied from the same song by Coldplay. Also, “Fix Me” has a hauntingly similar refrain to Coldplay’s “Fix You”. Is it a coincidence? Possibly.
Here are snippets of “Fix Me,” “Square One,” “I’m So Free” and “Wow.”
Beck’s honest, retro song “Dear Life” seemed to not have tried too hard to impress, and does so with stunning effect. The lyrics are superb and describe life’s hardships. The chorus reads: “dear life, I’m holding on / how long must I wait / before the thrill is gone” with a string orchestra, followed by an electric guitar solo. Serving as one of the only songs of it’s type on the album, it’s definitely a unique track among the dance tunes and sonic experimentation. Recently, Beck has been boosting his image after Colors’ release, conducting interviews with alternative rock Sirius XM station Alt Nation among other things. It may be hinting of a new era of Beck: one of venerability, experimentation and variety.
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5