Beck – Sea Change

Published on 5 May 2019 by

      For Beck – Sea Change, much of Beck’s trademark recondite, ironic lyrics were replaced by more sincere, simpler lyrical content. He also eschewed the heavy sampling of his previous albums for real, live instrumentation. In interviews, Beck cited the breakup with his longtime girlfriend as the major influence on the album. Sea Change, which itself is an idiom for broad transformation, peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200, later being certified gold in March 2005 by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The album received positive critical acclaim upon release, with several reviews regarding it as Beck’s magnum opus, and it has continued to grow in stature since its release, featuring in several best of the decade and best of all-time lists. Reviewers praised the change in style from the sonically experimental to simple and emotional.

      Kim Hughes: Beck is bummed. Really bummed. And if song titles such as “Lost Cause,” “Lonesome Tears,” “Already Dead,” and “Nothing I Haven’t Seen” don’t make the point, his achingly sad lyrics and Sea Change’s unerringly downcast sound do. While 1998’s Mutations–arguably the singer-songwriter’s masterwork and Sea Change’s spiritual cousin–was filled with unflinching self-examination, moments of levity were found in songs like “Tropicalia.” Not so on Beck – Sea Change. Beck’s woozy, almost narcoleptic delivery seems to amplify the set’s sense of ennui. But sad isn’t necessarily bad, and despite the somber tone, there’s much to praise, not the least of which is the return of producer Nigel Goderich (Mutations, Radiohead), who wraps Beck’s gloom in a dreamy, warm blanket of soft strings and floating bleeps and gurgles. Like Daniel Lanois, Goderich is all about vibe, and even Beck’s most bare-bones songs benefit from billowy atmospherics. That’s especially true of “Paper Tiger,” a restless, slowly building epic improbably propelled by a languid orchestra and Beck’s expressionless drone. The inky black feel of “Round the Bend”–a glacially slow dirge with muffled vocals–may be the darkest thing Beck’s ever written, not counting the very grim “Already Dead.” Whatever’s going on in Beck’s world, at least we know he’s purging, which, all things considered, may be better for his soul than ours.


Beck – Sea Change Tracklist

1.”The Golden Age” 00:00
02.”Paper Tiger” 04:36
03.”Guess I’m Doing Fine” 09:13
04.”Lonesome Tears” 14:03
05.”Lost Cause” 19:41
06.”End of the Day” 23:29
07.”It’s All In Your Mind” 28:32
08.”Round the Bend” 31:38
09.”Already Dead” 36:54
10.”Sunday Sun” 39:53
11.”Little One” 44:38
12.”Side of the Road” 49:06

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