Que' Onda Guero
Go It Alone
This album is Mastered for iTunes. When he was growing up in East L.A., Beck was sometimes called "guero," which is Spanish slang for 'white boy." The word also doubles as the title of Beck's first full-scale collaboration with the Dust Brothers since the two worked together on the 1996 genre-hopping masterpiece, Odelay. Like that earlier album, Guero takes disparate elements-slide guitars, Brazilian rhythms, and hip-hop beats-and melds them together into a unique, cohesive whole. The highlights here include "Girl,' a potentially dark tale of obsession that breaks into a bright summer chorus of shimmering harmonies, and "Earthquake Weather," which saunters past like a menacing gangster before bursting into a Brian Wilson-like falsetto. Overall, this album feels more restrained than Odelay; it's as if marriage and fatherhood have steadied his creative hand. While not as wildly exuberant as Odelay, the more mature Beck of Guero edits himself with greater precision, which helps him push his best ideas over.