Friday, January 9, 2009

Beck Reordered

As promised, I will tackle the Beck discography and present my own little alternative chronology. In contrast to Trent Reznor, Beck has been plenty prolific and plenty successful throughout his entire major label career. But he's also been all over the map stylistically, which is what makes this little exercise interesting.

After I was pondering my ordering at lunch today, I realize there are a few different ways you could rearrange his albums, but basically they break down into two general categories - the folkier ones and the alt rockier ones. So you could put one group of albums earlier or later and create a very different narrative. In my case, I'm putting the "folk" ones later. So without further ado, here it is, starting at the beginning chronologically:

Mellow Gold - Similar to NIN, I feel I have to start where things start. Yes, there were albums before this, but for the sake of argument, "Loser" is where Beck became known.
Odelay - And Odelay still has to follow on. The natural progression still holds.
Guero - This album felt like Odelay mk. 2 when I first heard it, so I figured I'd more it up
The Information - There's a restlessness to this album, I can't quite place it. I admit this is the album I have listened to the least, and with more examination I might put it elsewhere, but right now I think it fits right in here.
Midnight Vultures - The apex of Beck as alt rocker, and also the best Prince albums of the '90s. A brash chromatic album that's all over the place and yet by far his best album.
Sea Change - This is the hardest stylistic jump, but given the album title, I think I can get away with it. Midnight Vultures was his more dense alt album, and this was his most produced, sonically complex folkie album.
Mutations - Things get stripped away with Mutations, which for my money seems the most truly Beck of the Beck albums. He always had big name collaborators, but without as much audio icing, the strength of the songs comes through, and these are some his best.
Modern Guilt - A comfortable finish. I really like Sea Changes, for all it's sonic qualities, but Modern Guilt a much simpler sounds equally very comfortable. I think this album will age even better than many of his most loved albums.

At this point, I dunno which artist to do next, so I will ponder it for a while. The only thing that came to mind is Wilco, but I dunno how well I could rearrange things.

No comments: