Beck’s new “Morning Phase” Leans Toward the Psychedelic and Repetitive
American musician Beck Hanson, stage name Beck, introduced his twelfth album to the public on Feb. 21. Titled “Morning Phase,” this album is Beck’s first album since 2008, and was made with a new label, Capitol Records. The album premiered when it was pre-released by National Public Radio online, where individual tracks could be heard.
Beck became a part of the music world in the 1990s with his first album “Golden Feelings” in 1993. For those who still listen to 1990s pop or alternative music, his song “Loser” stands out among one of his more popular songs, which came from his third album “Mellow Gold.”
The song “Cycle” from his new album resembles the style and sound from The Verve’s song “Bittersweet Symphony.” The melody is slow and resembles not only The Verve’s sound, but also something you would hear on an orchestral stage.
The song “Morning” is slow with a distinct guitar playing throughout. The sound of the song is unique, but has a nostalgic 90’s music feel that shows a return to form for Beck. The track seems to have some psychedelic leanings as well, making it quite an interesting listening experience.
His song “Heart Is a Drum” continues with the psychedelic sound, but adds a folk twist. The pace does pick up and the mixture of vocals adds a great sound to the song, but it continues throughout the song with the psychedelic sound.
“Blue Moon,” one of the record’s first singles, creates a different mood to the album with a whispery folk style. The pace is quick and the vocals add a great background sound behind Beck’s vocals.
“Unforgiven” is a slower song with the psychedelic sound. The mixture of instruments creates a mysterious, saddened tone to the song. By this track in the album, the songs feel like they are blurring together, making the album feel fluid, and suggesting a one sitting listening experience.
The song “Wave” is very slow. It feels dark and gloomy as you listen. The sound of the instruments in the background and Beck’s vocals reinforce the dark and gloomy feeling.
“Don’t Let Go” stays with the folk sound. The beginning of the song is strong and the guitar in the background adds a Spanish-like tune in the background. The chorus however, feels repetitive and dull. By the end of the song, the background vocals add a very nice background sound to the song.
The song “Blackbird Chain” has a distinct folk and country tune in the beginning. It has a quick pace and is one of the better songs in the album. It no longer has the distinct psychedelic sound to the song. The dullness and repetition no longer becomes an issue.
“Phase” returns to the orchestral sound heard earlier in the record, and reminds the listener of the song “Cycle” with the sound of the “Bittersweet Symphony” song by The Verve. You might expect The Verve to begin singing their chorus, but the orchestra sound continues.
“Turn Away” returns to the sound like “Heart Is a Drum,” and its simple guitar instrumentation allows for a trancelike quality to the track. When coupled with Beck’s distant vocals, the song becomes a simple, yet beautiful experience.
The song “Country Down” returns to the folk music, like “Blackbird Chain.” However, it is slower and is also one of the better songs in the album.
The last song “Waking Light” ends the album on a slow, psychedelic pace. The track was featured as a single, and has a more radio friendly feel to it than much of the album, without feeling like anything but a Beck song.
Beck has always been famous for collaging music styles together, but in his newest album the mixture of folk and psychedelic sounds blurs his songs together and creates a sonically repetitive album with a few standout tracks. The moods of his last album, “Mellow Gold,” and “Morning Phase” is extremely different and although Beck is liked because of his mixture of styles, “Mellow Gold” stands as a better album in comparison.