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Beck's Colors Finds Joy In Its Time

Beck's Colors Finds Joy In Its Time
From TIME - October 12, 2017

An odd thing happened when Beck's Morning Phase won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2015: he got Kanye'd. As he was walking up to accept his gramophone trophy from Prince, the outspoken rapper started to follow him onstage, feigning a reprise of his infamous 2009 stage-crashing of Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. Beck reacted like you might expect the king of '90s slackerdom to, looking like a shruggy emoticon come to life. No surprise that, unlike Swift, Beck did not use the moment to fuel his follow-up album, Colors.

In fact, this new record has been gestating since before Morning Phase, when Beck started carving out time with Greg Kurstin, now a mega-producer for pop stars like Adele and Sia. The two have been collaborators for years. (Kurstin was Beck's keyboardist for the 2003 Sea Change tour.) But Colors is something more: Beck and Kurstin wrote a majority of the 10 songs together and played pretty much every instrument you hear, except for the strings and some background vocals.

The result is antithetical to the somber arrangements of Morning Phase. Beck's acoustic melancholy is replaced with a medley of psychedelic garage pop and funky dance numbers. It's all very joyous. Colors feels like a cousin to earlier albums Midnite Vultures (1999) and Guero (2005). On "No Distraction," Beck laments losing time and love as they "Pull you to the left/ Pull you to the right/ Pull you in all directions," but on the fuzzy guitar number "I am So Free," he takes the opposite route, declaring, "I am on a one-man waiting list/ I am bored again/ I buried all my memories/ I am so free now." On "Dreams" and "Seventh Heaven," he fully embraces surrealism, a longtime comfort zone. "Up All Night" is a crowd-pleasing party anthem.

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