No one has been post-genre longer than Beck. Before the success of streaming that opened artists up to new possibilities to freely explore genre, Beck was dominating MTV with his hit “Loser” in 1994 and doing whatever he wanted with his sound.
Winning ‘Album of the Year’ at the 2014 Grammy Awards over Beyonce’s self-titled record, X from Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams’s G.I.R.L and Sam Smith’s emotional debut In The Lonely Hour, many teens were left asking who is Beck in upset that their favorite pop act lost the title.
Now releasing his thirteenth studio album Colors, Beck is redefining pop music with his expectantly unexpected twist on the genre. Combining elements of rock, pop, hip-hop and 80s influences, Colors provides a fresh twist from the music dominating 2017 so far.
Opening with the title track, “Colors” provides a rock centered feel that is felt through the duration of the album. Sprinkled with pan flute melodies between sections and rich bass lines that provide an 80s pop feel, it’s easy to hear the stamp on modern pop Beck is working to achieve. Many of the elements in the rich, full sound on “Colors” is echoed through the album, except the pan flutes.
“Seventh Heaven” feels straight out of an 80s movie. With dreamscape feelings in the chorus and rich lyrical verses, it fits perfect with the plot line in a typical teen romance. This track also sounds like the perfect late night summer drive track. The rush in each word pushing you forward to the next laid over light guitar riffs makes you want to speed down the highway through the warm summer air.
Nothing makes Colors the twist on late 2010s pop than “I’m So Free”. Though it is heavy in rock elements, it’s the one track that makes you want to stand up and run free. The crisp open chords on electric guitar push the track toward the pop radio feel through the entire four minute track. Freedom is felt in the chorus making you want to sing along with “I’m so free” echoing through your mind.
Channeling his inner Beatles, Beck sounds like he could fit right onto Yellow Submarine with “Dear Life”. Opening with a jazz-timey piano riff that dominates the track, you’re taken instantly back to mid-1960s rock with the electrified guitars echoing over Beck’s mellow vocals.
“Wow” was released as the second track leading up to Colors release this year. Dropped in June 2016, it gives that more hip-hop crossed pop-rock feeling. With deep, husky vocals in different parts of the track, you can’t help but listen for more.
Instrumentally, it has a very different feel than the rest of Colors. Funk driven with a simple bass line, repeating flute slurs and electronic beats, “Wow” opens a new side of Beck’s musical journey.
In an interview with NME, Beck explained that he didn’t originally think the track was good and that “someone said ‘You should put this on the record’”.
“Up All Night” will make you want to stay up all night dancing and singing. Another track on the funkier side, it’s massive chorus littered with tinkering metal, a thudding, solid bassline and fast paced chords striking the guitar, you can’t help but move to the groove.
Contrasting piano riffs with structured, heavy guitar chords make “Square One” a notable track on Colors.
The piano filled sections of the track have Beck in the upper sections of his register while the guitar filled sections have Beck’s deeper voice, making “Square One” a vocally challenging track.
However, Beck doesn’t falter anywhere on it. With synth filled bridges and cascading bell tones, the track is filled with interesting melodies deep in background.
Colors is out now via Capitol Records, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Starr Brown