What can you say about Beck that hasn't already been said before? After being teased non-stop about the arrival of Beck's latest Danger Mouse infused album, Modern Guilt, we finally get to hold it in our hands today. Was it worth the wait? Well, it is Beck, so yes, however it is hard for me to put Modern Guilt on the same jewel-encrusted pedestal where some of his past releases sit firmly intact.
Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing jams on the record; "Gamma Ray" sounds like it was swiped off the cutting room floor from 2006's The Information and "Chemtrails," as well as the end of "Orphans," has a hint of Sea Change's epic scope. Even the down tempo "Youthless" and "Replica" have their highs.
Perhaps it is because Modern Guilt is more than just a one-listen record. As a matter of fact, with each second, third, fourth (and so on) listens, I find myself falling a little bit harder for it. Beck has never really been a listen-in-passing artist. The first time I heard Midnight Vultures I couldn't believe my ears, but now when "Debra" pops up on my iPod, I smile. That's one of the great things about Beck; he shifts and mutates, never staying still, and the result is a great musician who always makes us think twice about our expectations of him and his music.
So as I wrap up my thoughts on Modern Guilt, I find myself and my opinions of the release morphing just like the man himself. Damnit Beck, why do you have to be so good?
Stream - Modern Guilt