Beck – The Information
By Brian Hohman Tuesday, 27 Feb 2007

The Information is kind of a strange story of how it came to be but shows that Beck grows as an artist as much as he looks back to his past and re-works what he knows he does so well (and of course I mean make random words-a-plenty funk rock). He started work on it before even starting to think of 2005’s Guero, but he put it aside till after Guero, and the remixed sister album Guerolito.

The album seems to start out with the same energy and vibe as Odelay and Guero with upbeat songs like “Elevator Music”, “Think I’m In Love”, and “Cellphone’s Dead”. Everything is upbeat, with Beck’s stereotypical voice and sound for the first four tracks. Then it changes it up just a bit for “Soldier Jane”, a great song that really sets you up for my favorite song on the album, “Nausea”. It is a fast-paced, quick song that throws a lot at you with synthesizers, voices, as well as Beck’s singing and great acoustic guitar work. The whole song really seems like it could be the musical definition of nausea. Not that it gets you sick, but it has certain music qualities that just seem to give you the impression of it.

The Information slows down and lets you recover from the chaos of “Nausea” with three smoother more flowing songs all work beautifully together. Beck then goes into his most rap-esque song in the perfectly titled “1,000BPM”, a good venture for him, but ultimately quite repetitive. He has two songs that sound a lot more like your standard Beck song next with “Motorcade”, and “The Information”. “Movie Theme” is up next on the list and it sounds as though if you took out Beck’s vocals it would be the perfect song for almost any video game, it really is a lovely start to the end of the album. Now we arrive at the end, which clocks in at a quite lengthy 10+ mins. Don’t let the length scare you, however, it is really listenable, even if the last third of the song, called “Exoskeleton”, is a man talking over a ghostly otherworldly musical score about a spaceship. It really lays the album to rest, not suddenly but carefully, and leaves you thinking a bit, either about “what the hell is that doing there?”, or about the exoskeleton of this mythical spaceship.

That is the end of my very limited musical review of the album, but I don’t think you can rate an album on music alone, as it really is a lovely thing to behold outside of the musical realm as well. It comes packed with extras including a DVD with videos for every single song on the album, all taped by Beck’s friends. They aren’t all high production value pieces but they enhance the Beck experience so much, and compliment it like a good side of rice. In addition to the DVD, you also get to personalize the album art with a large batch of stickers, and a blank palette on the front and back to make the album truly ‘your’ album. The CD/DVD combos were shipped with six different packs of stickers, so everyone has a different pack of stickers, the tools with which they can creatively express themselves.

With all things considered I can’t say for certain this is my favorite Beck album, but I can say it really is a completely enjoyable experience that I love going through over and over again. It really is one of his top efforts, a complete album with a complete package.


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