The music of Beck Hansen has always alternated between immeasurable amounts of the good kind of bizarre (see: Odelay, Guero) and quaint, somber offerings (Sea Change, Mutations). 2006’s The Information is… somewhere in between.
As the story goes, The Information was first conceived directly after Sea Change in 2002. But Guero was released first, in 2005. That record and The Information sound way, waaaay different. While I can’t speak to what could account for the stark difference in stylistic change, and why Guero came first, I will say that both stand on their own feet equally.
For an artist with as much talent, ability and drive as Beck, it would be wrong to pigeonhole him into one genre. Sure, Odelay had some strange tunes like “High 5 (Rock the Catskills)”. Bear in mind that’s the same guy who wrote “Paper Tiger” – one of my favorite modern songs featuring strings, ever.
Helmed by producer Nigel Godrich (of Radiohead fame), The Information spans 15 tracks, and sports two tracks that, if they don’t end up on some Beck greatest hits album, I will eat my hat. For the record, those songs are “Elevator Music” and “Nausea” – which inspired me (see below).
As with most of One Record Per Day’s posts, I peruse other reviews to see what the general consensus is. For The Information, I guess I am missing the gist of what Hansen is trying to say. It’s been described as melancholy, even sad, but I just hear reflection, especially in a song like “Strange Apparition.”
This album features a ton of samples, and even a song created by Frankensteining two other songs together. “Think I’m In Love” is a mash-up between Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” and “Forever Changes” by Love.
I guess I’m indifferent to The Information because of my perceived lack of cohesion. It’s all over the place, but not in a good way. I’m okay with saying that it, for me, is the weakest Beck album I’ve heard – but Modern Guilt is still out there, so we’ll see.
Also, instead of a video simply of one of the songs from the album, here’s a video from one of my video production classes. It’s as ridiculous as you might anticipate.
The inspiration for the video came from “Nausea” – and is the most fun I’ve ever had with a camera in hand. Enjoy, I guess.
Standout tracks: “Elevator Music”, “Strange Apparition” and “Nausea”
Weakest track: Not crazy about “Motorcade”
RIYL: Trip-pop? Pop-junk? Who knows. The Flaming Lips, maybe Cake.