Beck Hansen's latest studio album was released to the world exactly one year ago. But the main single, Colors, has finally received a wider music video release - a psychedelic clip starring Alison Brie and directed by Baby Driver's mastermind Edgar Wright. The perfect occasion to revisit one of the funkiest albums of 2017!
"Colors" is the album's namesake as well as the opening track and the video track - and it delivers the goods. Starting with some cavernous basses that will make your woofer rumble like never before, and quickly switching over to a funky mix of snares, auto-tuned background vocals, Beck's own everyday voice and what really sounds like a heavily sampled indian flute? It's an eclectic single, mass-marketable enough to be spun on any mainstream radio station, but with too many layers to take in with just a couple of listens.
The video, directed by "Shaun of the Dead", "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" and "Baby Driver" director Edgar Wright definitely deserves to be watched (preferably on a large TV). It's reminiscent of gravity-defying colorful dancing classics like Drake's "Hotline Bling", OK-GO's "Upside Down and Inside Out", and yes, even MJ's "Black or White". An instant classic, much like the single it carries.
"No distraction" is definitely one of Beck's most commercially poppy singles to date. Luckily, it's also an incredible firework of creative samples and catchy hooks that you'll keep humming under the shower for days to come. The 'Pull you to the left - pull you to the right' sequence in particular is incredibly addictive; especially as it rolls over and into the main refrain, Beck and producer Greg Kurstin pack the song chock-full of brilliant sound nuggets - including but not limited to a xilophone, bamboo sticks, some delightful vocals by Jellyfish's Roger Manning and even an autotuned barking dog, making this one of the standout tracks and a worthwhile addition to any heavy rotation playlist out there.
With its sharp kicks, thumpy basses and colorful hooks, "Colors" can get pretty heavy on the ears. But "Fix Me", the album final track, is a homely, soft ballad which, while tonally in line with the general mood of the album, deviates enough from the bright colors (no pun intended) of the rest of Beck's work to warrant a pick in the Standout Tracks rotation. Featuring a mellow guitar line, subdued basses and some perfectly placed bells and synthetizers, "Fix Me" is one of the best 'coming home after a long day' songs in recent memory. As the chorus picks up the refrain and Beck starts singing again, you'll wish the album wasn't over yet - and you could stay a little bit longer in Colors' stunning musical world.
Exactly one year from its original release, the scope and scale of Beck's latest undertaking has become clear - and boy, it is big. Colors the album is already an incredibly brilliant piece of pop music all on its own. But then you have Wright's video, the Canada-directed "Up All Night", Jack's murals, Computer Team's motion graphics, Jimmy Turrel's brilliant album design, and so much more. Much like Beck's previous efforts, Colors is a piece of art that works across multiple domains and dimensions. It is a memorable piece of pop, an outstanding easy listen with a surprising amount of layers, a fantastic return to form for mr. Hansen and an absolute recommendation for this month's music rotation.
If you like this, also listen to: OK-GO, Portishead, Air, Vampire Weekend, Placebo, The Flaming Lips.
If you like this, also play: Jonathan Mak's brilliant "Sound Shapes", which features an entire set of levels designed and composed by Beck.
Beck in Amsterdam: nope, unless you mean the beer.