So yeah, I’m really sorry about all the delay. Totally M.I.A.
I’m sure y’all must be wondering where I’ve been (okay, maybe you haven’t, but I’ll still explain). The thing is, I moved out of my old house (not alone…yet) and I’ve been worried about that. Plus, I’ve got the recording studio project and The Elevator Anthem. I am writing some songs at the moment, pretty classical/ambient tunes, that I’m quite proud of.
Anyways, I won’t exhaust you guys before the actual review, so here we go!
“Morning Phase” is definitely like “Sea Change”, but I don’t think of it as a sequel, but more as a sibling. In my very humble opinion, “Morning Phase” is Beck’s masterpiece. Seems like he’s always a step forward, and it’s not a common skill. In the nineties, he was doing what some bands are doing now, and in 2014 he pulled off something that could perfectly be from any year.
“Cycle” is a very special song, with only 43 seconds and a string section to accompany us. We quickly move on to “Morning”, a mostly acoustic tune. Also strongly supported by a string section (actually, the whole album is arranged with strings, so consider that for the rest of the review).
“Heart Is A Drum” and “Say Goodbye” are slightly different, more straightforward and driven by a simpler rhythm. And we reach the first single released, “Blue Moon”. It’s one of the best songs of the album. The arrangements are magnificent, especially the vocals. Beck’s voice strongly declares “I’m so tired of being alone”, right at the start. And may I say…the final synth lead is just genius.
The next 4 songs (“Unforgiven”, “Wave”, “Don’t Let It Go” and “Blackbird Chain”) are pretty similar to the first bunch. I wouldn’t call any of em radio material, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad songs at all. If I had to choose of them to play over and over, it would be “Unforgiven”.
You could say “Phase” is “Cycle”‘s big brother, a bit longer and clearer. “Turn Away”, an acoustic guitar-driven, opens a pathway to the most intimate part of the record. It’s really a magnificent production when it comes to choosing where each song will be positioned.
“Country Down”, also an acoustic tune, feels like the least arranged song, making it the simplest rhythm you’ll find in “Morning Phase”. The harmonica sure gives it an Beck-ish spice.
And we finally reach the zenith, “Waking Light”. I honestly believe this is by far the greatest song Beck has written so far, in his very varied 12 records. For me, the glockenspiel is timed like clockwork, only appearing a few moments. But it gives it such a special touch, a sort of heavenly sound.
“Morning Phase” is he most straightforward, mature and interesting album Beck has pulled off, considering the vast amount of songs he’s released in over 20 years of career.
It’s a serious contender for album of year (unless Eels’ new album is fucking good, this might win the coveted award…), and now I consider myself an even bigger Beck fan.
Will be in my best of 2014 list fo’ sho’!