We actually did a double-take during one of the songs on Beck‘s new album. Wow is, well, wow… for all the wrong reasons. From the incongruous hip-hop delivery and lyrics about a ‘luminous moose’ to the awful chorus and annoying production, it’s like your dad has taken a smattering of tropes from a Spotify pop playlist and decided he’d release an album.
The intention of Colors is obvious and understandable. Beck is trying to provide a kaleidoscopic hit of his most pop-leaning songwriting in a tired and troubled world, but the problem is that Beck seems to be having way much more fun with it than we are. The album rallies slightly with songs like Square One, but they hardly seem like they belong to a man of this calibre. Hell, they feel like 90s MOR rejects half the time.
The thing with people like Beck and even Ryan Adams with that awful 1989 covers album is that they still have this patronising view of what pop music is. Beck decides to take a holiday from his intuitive lyricism in favour of boring epithets like “Am I fixing? Am I crushing?” on Fix Me. Where he does well, however, is Dreams. It gets everything right, a stadium-sized rocker that makes good of both worlds.
One half of the album certainly understands that groove better than the rest. The title track lives up to its multi-hued title, while Seventh Heaven enjoys a guitar-romp that’s sense of fun is invitational rather than exclusive. But then it’s back to the most cringe moments we’ve heard on record this year in the form of I’m So Free (seriously, we can’t even get through it the whole way) and we realise that Beck seems to be having some sort of mid-life crisis. Let’s hope it’s out of his system now, because we could do with the old one back.