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Beck’s new album streamed early 

COURTESY PHOTO

 
Beck’s twelfth full-length LP Morning Phase, has been hyped as the sequel to Beck’s 2002 album, Sea Change, but any negative connotations or doubt can be wiped away upon listening.

Morning Phase, is not an average, second-rate sequel. Then again, Beck is an artist that can never be characterized as mundane.

There is definitely no masking some of the similarity between the former and the latter, but Morning Phase is refreshing enough to demand respect.

The album is a return to creative form for Beck after a strange six-year hiatus.

After releasing Modern Guilt in 2008, the experimental artist took a sabbatical from creating new, original music.

He dabbled with recording music for his Record Club, where he covered classic albums by the Velvet Underground and INXS.

PHOTO COURTESY OF M ANIMA

PHOTO COURTESY OF M ANIMA

In late 2012, Beck released an album composed of sheet music titled Song Reader. It was a landmark idea as it forced the intended listener to actually play the music themselves.

It is a relief that Beck maintained his integrity throughout the break, but Morning Phase, is enough reason to celebrate his return to songwriting.

The hidden intention behind Morning Phase was to provide closure to Sea Change. It is the final chapter to one of modern music’s greatest books about a love lost.

Upon listening to the new album’s final track “Waking Light,” it is appropriate to take a breath of comfort. There is hope for the future, and redemption is found.

Although released in February, (streamed ahead of its original Feb. 25 release date) Morning Phase is unrelenting with an overall soundscape of lying out by the beach.

It forces the listener to mend their broken heart by escaping to the beach, soaking in the sunlight and embracing the coastal wind.

Break-ups can be tough but Beck paints an imagery that soothes the soul.

It’s important to listen to Morning Phase as a whole album, whether straight through or on shuffle. This is not a record that can be intertwined with much else. Each track transitions with ease into the next. The first song on the album, “Cycle,” has a 40-second intro, but feeds into “Morning,” effortlessly. It is that kind of atmosphere that made Sea Change, riveting and Morning Phase is no different.

Despite the theme of Morning Phase traveling throughout the LP, the majority of tracks stand out in their own way. “Country Down” is a southern ballad that would make some of the country genre’s top songwriters envious.

“Blue Moon” is a cry for help, and about fearing loneliness: “Oh don’t leave me on my own, standing all alone.”

Morning Phase may not be Beck at his most innovative, but it is some of his purest work to date. The array of vocal harmonies, sculpted instrumentation and introspective lyrics make for quite the emotional listening experience.

 

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