10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A compact 33-minute collection from Beck and producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton (Gnarls Barkley) that combines Beck’s shyest shoegazer tendencies with his interest in sonic manipulations, Modern Guilt manages to come across both modest and expansive. Its simple melodies immediately grip, while the production often drifts into dreamlike textures where haunting backing vocals (supplied in part by Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power) add to the supernatural glaze. Strip these songs of their eloquent beats and playful keyboards and catchy, clever folk tunes would emerge. Though he has played himself off over the years as a slacker prince / stoner with a strong stream-of-consciousness streak, Beck supplies his songs with plenty of quick wit and wisdom. But in the end, it’s the sound that counts. “Orphans” evokes the sweetness of the Beach Boys. The title track dips into a psychedelic waltz. “Soul of a Man” includes dive-bomb guitars and flirts with hard rock. “Profanity Prayers” attacks the dancefloor with a manic, rushed, overpacked subway car rhythm. “Volcano” ends things on a suitably restrained, downcast note. Beck expresses himself while hiding in plain view.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A compact 33-minute collection from Beck and producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton (Gnarls Barkley) that combines Beck’s shyest shoegazer tendencies with his interest in sonic manipulations, Modern Guilt manages to come across both modest and expansive. Its simple melodies immediately grip, while the production often drifts into dreamlike textures where haunting backing vocals (supplied in part by Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power) add to the supernatural glaze. Strip these songs of their eloquent beats and playful keyboards and catchy, clever folk tunes would emerge. Though he has played himself off over the years as a slacker prince / stoner with a strong stream-of-consciousness streak, Beck supplies his songs with plenty of quick wit and wisdom. But in the end, it’s the sound that counts. “Orphans” evokes the sweetness of the Beach Boys. The title track dips into a psychedelic waltz. “Soul of a Man” includes dive-bomb guitars and flirts with hard rock. “Profanity Prayers” attacks the dancefloor with a manic, rushed, overpacked subway car rhythm. “Volcano” ends things on a suitably restrained, downcast note. Beck expresses himself while hiding in plain view.

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