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Guero

Beck

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Ever since his thrilling 1994 debut with Mellow Gold, each new Beck album was a genuine pop cultural event, since it was never clear which direction he would follow. Kicking off his career as equal parts noise-prankster, indie folkster, alt-rocker, and ironic rapper, he's gone to extremes, veering between garishly ironic party music to brooding heartbroken Baroque pop, and this unpredictability is a large part of his charm, since each album was distinct from the one before. That remains true with Guero, his eighth album (sixth if you don't count 1994's Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot in the Grave, which some don't), but the surprising thing here is that it sounds for all the world like a good, straight-ahead, garden-variety Beck album, which is something he'd never delivered prior to this 2005 release. In many ways, Guero is deliberately designed as a classicist Beck album, a return to the sound and aesthetic of his 1996 masterwork, Odelay. After all, he's reteamed with the producing team of the Dust Brothers, who are widely credited for the dense, sample-collage sound of Odelay, and the light, bright Guero stands in stark contrast to the lush melancholy of 2002's Sea Change while simultaneously bearing a knowing kinship to the sound that brought him his greatest critical and commercial success in the mid-'90s. This has all the trappings of being a cold, calculating maneuver, but the album never plays as crass. Instead, it sounds as if Beck, now a husband and father in his mid-thirties, is revisiting his older aesthetic and sensibility from a new perspective. The sound has remained essentially the same -- it's still a kaleidoscopic jumble of pop, hip-hop, and indie rock, with some Brazilian and electro touches thrown in -- but Beck is a hell of a lot calmer, never indulging in the lyrical or musical flights of fancy or the absurdism that made Mellow Gold and Odelay such giddy listens. He now operates with the skill and precision of a craftsman, never dumping too many ideas into one song, paring his words down to their essentials, mixing the record for a wider audience than just his friends. Consequently, Guero never is as surprising or enthralling as Odelay, but Beck is also not trying to be as wild and funny as he was a decade ago. He's shifted away from exaggerated wackiness -- which is good, since it wouldn't wear as well on a 34 year old as it would on a man a decade younger -- and concentrated on the record-making, winding up with a thoroughly enjoyable LP that sounds warm and familiar upon the first play and gets stronger with each spin. No, it's not a knockout, the way his first few records were, but it's a successful mature variation on Odelay, one that proves that Beck's sensibility will continue to reap rewards for him as he enters his second decade of recording. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Guero

Beck

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1
E-Pro (Album Version) 00:03:22

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - Mike Diamond, ComposerLyricist - Adam Nathaniel Yauch, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Keefe Horovitz, ComposerLyricist - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2004 Interscope Records

2
Que' Onda Guero (Album Version) 00:03:29

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, Vocals, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Paolo Diaz, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Capen, Unknown, Other

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

3
Girl (Album Version) 00:03:30

Beck Hansen, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Beck, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals, Unknown, Programming, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - NIGEL GODRICH, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dan Grech-Marguerat, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other

℗ 2004 Interscope Records

4
Missing (Album Version) 00:04:44

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - David Campbell, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vinicius De Moraes, ComposerLyricist - Beck, String Arranger, Percussion, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean Davis, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

5
Black Tambourine (Album Version) 00:02:47

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Tambourine, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eugene Blacknell, ComposerLyricist - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

6
Earthquake Weather (Album Version) 00:04:26

Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Joey Waronker, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Adams, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Money Mark, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Beck, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Smokey Hormel, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Danny Webster, ComposerLyricist - Mark Hicks, ComposerLyricist - Steve Washington, ComposerLyricist - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

7
Hell Yes (Album Version) 00:03:18

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, Bass Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurisutina, Unknown, Other

℗ 2004 Interscope

8
Broken Drum (Album Version) 00:04:30

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Beck, Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Hoffer, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Mott, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

9
Scarecrow (Album Version) 00:04:16

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

10
Go It Alone (Album Version) 00:04:09

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack White, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Beck, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

11
Farewell Ride (Album Version) 00:04:19

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Beck, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Vocals, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Hoffer, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Mott, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

12
Rental Car (Album Version) 00:03:06

Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Petra Haden, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Other, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

13
Emergency Exit (Album Version) 00:04:01

Beck Hansen, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - David Campbell, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Simpson, ComposerLyricist - JOHN KING, ComposerLyricist - Mike Laza, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beck, String Arranger, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Unknown, Clapping, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dust Brothers, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny Kalb, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Breeck, Unknown, Other - Mark Branch, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Interscope Records

Album Description

Ever since his thrilling 1994 debut with Mellow Gold, each new Beck album was a genuine pop cultural event, since it was never clear which direction he would follow. Kicking off his career as equal parts noise-prankster, indie folkster, alt-rocker, and ironic rapper, he's gone to extremes, veering between garishly ironic party music to brooding heartbroken Baroque pop, and this unpredictability is a large part of his charm, since each album was distinct from the one before. That remains true with Guero, his eighth album (sixth if you don't count 1994's Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot in the Grave, which some don't), but the surprising thing here is that it sounds for all the world like a good, straight-ahead, garden-variety Beck album, which is something he'd never delivered prior to this 2005 release. In many ways, Guero is deliberately designed as a classicist Beck album, a return to the sound and aesthetic of his 1996 masterwork, Odelay. After all, he's reteamed with the producing team of the Dust Brothers, who are widely credited for the dense, sample-collage sound of Odelay, and the light, bright Guero stands in stark contrast to the lush melancholy of 2002's Sea Change while simultaneously bearing a knowing kinship to the sound that brought him his greatest critical and commercial success in the mid-'90s. This has all the trappings of being a cold, calculating maneuver, but the album never plays as crass. Instead, it sounds as if Beck, now a husband and father in his mid-thirties, is revisiting his older aesthetic and sensibility from a new perspective. The sound has remained essentially the same -- it's still a kaleidoscopic jumble of pop, hip-hop, and indie rock, with some Brazilian and electro touches thrown in -- but Beck is a hell of a lot calmer, never indulging in the lyrical or musical flights of fancy or the absurdism that made Mellow Gold and Odelay such giddy listens. He now operates with the skill and precision of a craftsman, never dumping too many ideas into one song, paring his words down to their essentials, mixing the record for a wider audience than just his friends. Consequently, Guero never is as surprising or enthralling as Odelay, but Beck is also not trying to be as wild and funny as he was a decade ago. He's shifted away from exaggerated wackiness -- which is good, since it wouldn't wear as well on a 34 year old as it would on a man a decade younger -- and concentrated on the record-making, winding up with a thoroughly enjoyable LP that sounds warm and familiar upon the first play and gets stronger with each spin. No, it's not a knockout, the way his first few records were, but it's a successful mature variation on Odelay, one that proves that Beck's sensibility will continue to reap rewards for him as he enters his second decade of recording. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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