Oh Where-O? Oh Odelay
Beck has reunited with the Dust Brothers (the production team that helped helm his 90â€šÃ„Ã´s classic Odelay) for his follow up to the sublime Sea Change. Guero (Spanish slang for white boy) harkens back to the cut up folk-hip-hop experimentation that made Odelay a new classic. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not without growth though. Beckâ€šÃ„Ã´s voice still sounds as rich and soulful as on Midnite Vultures and other times as quietly angelic as on Sea Change.The Dust Brothers influence is most felt in the slick drums and percussion as theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re credited on nearly every song with only â€šÃ„ÃºBeats.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The smooth playful sound takes advantage of a multitude of samples including The Ohio Players, The Temptations and on the rocking album opener â€šÃ„ÃºE-Proâ€šÃ„Ã¹ a small snippet of the Beastie Boys’ â€šÃ„ÃºSo Whatâ€šÃ„Ã´cha Want.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Beck himself handles almost all other instrumentation.
More than a rehash of Odelay, this outing feels like a reversion. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a return to form as opposed to a regressive lack of ideas. The closer â€šÃ„ÃºEmergency Exitâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºEarthquake Weatherâ€šÃ„Ã¹ have the perfect Beck blend of acoustic guitar against enticing rhythm. The highest points here are the wonderful energy of â€šÃ„ÃºGirlâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and the show-stopping melody and rhymes of â€šÃ„ÃºGo It Alone.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The latter of which featuring an unforgettably cool bassline from Jack White of the White Stripes.
Beck is another victim only to his own dedication to forward momentum in artistic accomplishment. Every album since Mellow Gold has been all but a revolution in sound. The criticism on Guero will focus on its obvious similarities to Odelay and while not the masterpiece its predecessor was, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s still a great record. This gueroâ€šÃ„Ã´s still got it.