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Modern Guilt

Hey, it's the new Beck.

I wish I could say more, but there isn't a lot here. Modern Guilt is a stripped-down, weary, old-man disc with sparse guitar and few hummable melodies. There are a handful of upbeat tunes, but most of the energy comes from Danger Mouse's spastic, distracting, Prodigy-style beats. It is trendily short and to the point - 10 tracks at 34 minutes.

In addition to putting the kibosh on the weird bleeps and bloops, Beck brings his lyrics down to earth. "And I heard of that Japanese girl/Who jumped into the volcano/Was she trying to make it back?/Back into the womb of the world?" This isn't exactly deep - it actually resembles a loopy Björk lyric - but it is a lot more coherent than "I'll comb your hair/read out your diary/pour champagne on a honey bee." Coherence, however, has never been part of Beck's appeal.

In the only real upbeat rock tune, "Profanity Prayers," Beck asks, "who's got an answer?" Well, it's still not Beck, but it sounds like he's getting closer. However, there are those among us who prefer him confused. Modern Guilt will be great for Danger Mouse fans, or those who think Beck's previous work was too flippant. It just doesn't feel like he put a lot into this record.


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Friday, July 25, 2014 All Contents Copyright © 2014 Stinkweeds Music