POLL: Beck, Sea Change

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Released: September 24, 2002

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Lost Cause 25
Sunday Sun 8
Guess I'm Doing Fine 7
Lonesome Tears 6
The Golden Age 5
Paper Tiger 5
Little One 3
Round the Bend 2
Already Dead 0
It's All in Your Mind 0
End of the Day 0
Side of the Road 0


late adopter, Sunday, 28 August 2011 07:16 (eight years ago) link

This album is stinky. One album better than it is Sir Lord Baltimore: Kingdom Come.

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 28 August 2011 07:37 (eight years ago) link

i like this space country. and the easy answer is Lost Cause.

Cosmo Vitelli, Sunday, 28 August 2011 10:37 (eight years ago) link

when I got the Thurston Moore record a couple weeks ago I finally understood what Beck aimed for and missed here.

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 28 August 2011 11:31 (eight years ago) link

I can only remember "Lost Cause", plus that's the only one I remember liking.

Duane Barry, Sunday, 28 August 2011 11:54 (eight years ago) link

this album is not horrible btw

'lost cause'

iatee, Sunday, 28 August 2011 11:59 (eight years ago) link

I always found this every bit as much of a genre exercise as Midnite Vultures but it's often beautifully done, mainly thanks to his dad's string arrangments. Paper Tigers is a terrific Melodie Nelson homage and the ever-building strings on Lonesome Tears are wonderful. Arrangements aside, Lost Cause is probably the strongest song. Whole record somewhat spoilt for me by interviewing him when it came out and finding him to be the most prickly, humourless, passive-aggressive asshole I'd ever met, so I couldn't give a fuck about his broken heart.

Now he's doing horse (DL), Sunday, 28 August 2011 12:02 (eight years ago) link

Fantastic album. Voting for "Golden Age".

Hongroe (Geir Hongro), Sunday, 28 August 2011 12:33 (eight years ago) link

when I got the Thurston Moore record a couple weeks ago I finally understood what Beck aimed for and missed here.

Listening to Thurston Moore, I understand what you mean. IMO both are great, but Thurston Moore misses an important aspect in not having those wonderful reverb effects courtesy of Nigel Godrich.

Hongroe (Geir Hongro), Sunday, 28 August 2011 12:38 (eight years ago) link

HATED this album when it came out. I have since warmed up to it deeply

brrr-icane aye-rene (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 28 August 2011 16:34 (eight years ago) link

Round the Bend is pretty great as River Man ripoffs go

B-Boy Bualadh Bos (ecuador_with_a_c), Sunday, 28 August 2011 16:57 (eight years ago) link

this album is horrible

"little one"

little mushroom person (abanana), Sunday, 28 August 2011 17:06 (eight years ago) link

the album is fine. Paper Tiger.

Paper Tigers is a terrific Melodie Nelson homage

ha, i haven't listened to this album since it came out, really, and didn't hear melody nelson for another couple of years, so having no trace of melody nelson in my memory of 'paper tigers' makes it an odd listen now.

Merdeyeux, Sunday, 28 August 2011 17:33 (eight years ago) link

Fantastic album. Voting for "Golden Age".

― Hongroe (Geir Hongro), Sunday, August 28, 2011 5:33 AM (17 hours ago)

I fine myself agreeing with Geir.

that's not my post, Monday, 29 August 2011 06:13 (eight years ago) link

Great album.

Golden Age vs Lost Cause vs Sunday Sun for me.

Vaginalogue Bubblebath (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 29 August 2011 10:09 (eight years ago) link

"Lonesome Tears" is the only one still on my iTunes. And it will never leave.

Gus Van Sant's Gerry Blank (Eric H.), Monday, 29 August 2011 11:08 (eight years ago) link

i spin this one occassionally, it's not so bad, Lost Cause en It's All In Your Mind stand out for me. Will vote for the latter for variety.

Ludo, Monday, 29 August 2011 11:12 (eight years ago) link

Fantastic album. Voting for "Golden Age".
― Hongroe (Geir Hongro), Sunday, August 28, 2011 5:33 AM (17 hours ago)

I fine myself agreeing with Geir.

I hope the fine isn't excessive, because I also agree.

IT IS EXECUTION (Z S), Monday, 29 August 2011 11:59 (eight years ago) link

yeah - I loved it back then and I still rate it - I'll prob go with "Guess I'm Doing Fine" or "Lonesome Tears".

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 29 August 2011 12:33 (eight years ago) link

This is the first album where Beck really disappointed me. I really only like Golden Age.

peter in montreal, Monday, 29 August 2011 13:07 (eight years ago) link

Haven't played this since it came out, but "The Golden Age" was all I really liked at the time. From what I remember, it's a pretty mopey album.

clemenza, Monday, 29 August 2011 14:08 (eight years ago) link

i haven't played it in several years either, but at the time i was in the midst of a mopey decade so i was cool with the vibe!

IT IS EXECUTION (Z S), Monday, 29 August 2011 14:14 (eight years ago) link

haha same here - it's also the perfect morning hangover soundtrack

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 29 August 2011 14:43 (eight years ago) link

this album requires way too much effort to enjoy.

skip, Monday, 29 August 2011 15:19 (eight years ago) link

i thought this record was OK when it came out, haven't listened in forever. Super gorgeous production, a few sub-par songs, a kinda oppressive atmosphere. Maybe that's the point -- I always felt like listening to it was pushing me down.

tylerw, Monday, 29 August 2011 15:23 (eight years ago) link

http://www.xocmusic.com/misc/

ciderpress, Monday, 29 August 2011 16:28 (eight years ago) link

"Little One" is great. The Flaming Lips did a nice (sans Beck) version of "The Golden Age" as a b-side--made it sound like an After The Goldrush/Harvest outtake.

Mucho! Macho! Honcho!: Turn Off The Dark (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 29 August 2011 16:54 (eight years ago) link

I don't like Beck's singing on this album---I could hack the vibe at the time, the production etc., but Beck's voice was a drag, that monotonic drone. I liked "Lost Cause" enough to vote for it here.

Euler, Monday, 29 August 2011 16:57 (eight years ago) link

i kinda feel like "Nobody's Fault But My Own" should be on this album, and if it were, it would be the best song on it imho

Mordy, Monday, 29 August 2011 17:02 (eight years ago) link

I don't like Beck's singing on this album---I could hack the vibe at the time, the production etc., but Beck's voice was a drag, that monotonic drone. I liked "Lost Cause" enough to vote for it here.

― Euler, Monday, August 29, 2011 4:57 PM (6 minutes ago) Bookmark

I feel like it works here. This is more of a mood album than a sit and enjoy anytime album. The droney-ness of it is part of the appeal for me.

Spottie_Ottie_Dope, Monday, 29 August 2011 17:08 (eight years ago) link

I remember being hugely disappointed with this album when it came out (like everyone else it seems), mainly because the version of It's All In Your Mind paled in comparison to the (live) version released a few years before on the Bridge School Concerts Vol. 1 compilation CD. His solo acoustic performance was the highlight of that CD but for Sea Change he changed the melody/arrangement slightly which completely ruined it for me. I remember skipping over it many times but now I've grown to appreciate it in its own right. Still, Lost Cause comes out on top.

agnosy, Monday, 29 August 2011 18:43 (eight years ago) link

so if most of us thought this a stone bore how were so many old people wrong in 2002?

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 August 2011 18:46 (eight years ago) link

nah, this was great. sleepy, not boring.

Mordy, Monday, 29 August 2011 18:48 (eight years ago) link

this is a good album, agreed. and also agreed that the thurston moore album sounds an awful lot lik it. i think I prefer sea change. anyway, 'lost cause' I guess.

akm, Monday, 29 August 2011 18:52 (eight years ago) link

"Nobody's Fault but My Own"--possibly my favourite Beck song ever.

clemenza, Monday, 29 August 2011 19:28 (eight years ago) link

Mutations is the better record.

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 August 2011 19:29 (eight years ago) link

sort of feel like this record got a lot of really strong notices at first because it was like "beck has MATURED, now he's SERIOUS" -- but i don't think mature beck is necessarily better beck.

tylerw, Monday, 29 August 2011 19:34 (eight years ago) link

I loved this when it came out, still do. As others have mentioned it can seem like a slog when you aren't in the right mood, but when you are... it really nails it.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Monday, 29 August 2011 19:35 (eight years ago) link

tylerw OTM - after Midnite Vultures critics seemed to want the "real" (ie serious) Beck, only this was no less mannered than anything else he'd done.

Now he's doing horse (DL), Tuesday, 30 August 2011 07:36 (eight years ago) link

Mutations is the better record.

― a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, August 29, 2011 3:29 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark

totally.

voted sunday sun.

õ_Ò (Pillbox), Tuesday, 30 August 2011 07:42 (eight years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 2 September 2011 23:01 (eight years ago) link

"Guess I'm Doing Fine"

Bee OK, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:58 (eight years ago) link

God this record sucks

pathos of the unwarranted encore (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 3 September 2011 03:20 (eight years ago) link

lol

markers, Saturday, 3 September 2011 03:41 (eight years ago) link

yeah Mutations is better but i love Lost Cause, especially the exhausted sounding exhalation right at the end.

also this:
There's too many people you used to know
They see you coming, they see you go
They know your secrets and you know theirs
This town is crazy; nobody cares

really nails how it feels living in small cities sometimes imho.

piscesx, Saturday, 3 September 2011 03:45 (eight years ago) link

love lost cause

69, Saturday, 3 September 2011 05:25 (eight years ago) link

lost cause is the boring answer but the only one, every other song always melded into one slog for me

which isn't the worst thing in the world, i could see this being very useful after a teenage breakup when you specifically plan on crying yourself to sleep (making bon iver redundant)

dj roombahton (zachlyon), Saturday, 3 September 2011 08:51 (eight years ago) link

Lost Cause is the best song on here. Yeah, ultimate breakup music. "Your sorry eyes/they cut through bone/it makes it hard/to leave you alone".

Telephoneface (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:01 (eight years ago) link

heard lost cause most recently playing in a liquor store, which made beer shopping pretty depressing.

tylerw, Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:03 (eight years ago) link

'Paper Tiger' is fantastic. Never heard of Melodie Nelson.

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:06 (eight years ago) link

if you like paper tiger, you'd probably like melodie nelson.

tylerw, Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:08 (eight years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZDDDFNHApI

anorange (abanana), Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:09 (eight years ago) link

this is totally "sunday sun"

mutant slow drum (BradNelson), Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:12 (eight years ago) link

Oh I didn't know it was a Gainsbourg record. Great song indeed.

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:12 (eight years ago) link

no wait, it's "little one"

mutant slow drum (BradNelson), Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:13 (eight years ago) link

yeah, i don't like any of the songs, but godrich's production on that one is great

anorange (abanana), Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:16 (eight years ago) link

kind of funny to read my 2002 review of this record. some terrible writing aside, i think i agree with it. hadn't heard melodie nelson at the time:

For a guy who began his career with a song that had one-hit-wonder written all over it, Beck has proved to be a surprisingly durable fixture in the ever-fickle pop music landscape. By nature, he seems wholly uninterested in repeating his past successes; instead, he's crafted an adventurous and varied body of work over the past eight years, proving himself a master of innumerable musical genres and a songwriter of considerable talent. Originally pegged as the quintessential underachiever, Beck has become one of the more ambitious artists working in popular music today.

Beck's latest release, the somber Sea Change, seeks to establish Mr. Hansen as a "serious" songwriter, as someone in league with heavy hitters like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan or Nick Drake— guys who write about Serious Shit, that is. Gone are the faux r&b pastiches of Midnite Vultures and the cut and paste experimentalism of Odelay. Also gone is the surrealistic wordplay that marked even his other stripped-down affairs, One Foot In The Grave and Mutations.

What we're left with is Beck lamenting a broken heart, his acoustic guitar and world-weary voice front and center. "There's too many people you used to know," he sings on "Lost Cause." "They see you coming, they see you go." Much of the album is like this—a clear-eyed, first person report on the end of a relationship. In other words, we're a long way from the oversexed, super-funky streets of Glendale. Sorry, Debra.

Ultimately, Sea Change is a hit-and-miss affair. Beck, as usual, has done his homework: the songs here echo the best of the early '70s singer/songwriter boom. Cohen, Dylan and Drake are the most obvious touchstones, and references to Gordon Lightfoot, John Martyn and Neil Young show up as well. Beck's band, the same group of musicians who have backed him on his past two albums (the wildly disparate Mutations and Midnite Vultures), again proves itself to be a remarkably versatile and sensitive unit. Producer Nigel Godrich (best known for his work with Radiohead) gives the album a shimmering, reverb-laden sound that improves upon Mutations' slightly flat production.

But Godrich's production and the band's tasteful renderings of Beck's songs are also responsible for the album's essential flaw. Listening to the album, you're drawn more to the sonic craftsmanship at work, rather than the songs themselves. You're thinking, "Wow, what a great mix of glockenspiel and pedal steel guitar," rather than emotionally responding to the pathos apparent in Beck's lyrics. As a result, the album's central focus—the death of a love affair—is obscured considerably.

It's almost as though Beck is trying to cloak some of the rawer, more personal elements in the songs. It wouldn't be an unprecedented move. Dylan himself re-recorded much of his own broken-hearted masterpiece Blood On The Tracks in order to smooth over some of the rough edges that might have cut a little too close to the bone on the original version of the album. It's certainly the artist's right to edit and alter his own work, but in Beck's case, the beautiful but often overwhelming production of Sea Change may have cost him a better album.

In the end, the listener is left with is an undeniably gorgeous sounding record, with several excellent songs. It's not in league with the great singer/songwriter records of the '60s and '70s, but it is another fascinating episode in Beck's career. He's one of the few mainstream artists who's completely willing to eschew commercialism in order to follow wherever his muse takes him. Beck doesn't paint his masterpiece with Sea Change, but he's undoubtedly on the right track.

tylerw, Saturday, 3 September 2011 19:26 (eight years ago) link

There's too many people you used to know
They see you coming, they see you go
They know your secrets and you know theirs
This town is crazy; nobody cares

really nails how it feels living in small cities sometimes imho.

calling Miranda Lambert!

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 3 September 2011 20:10 (eight years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Saturday, 3 September 2011 23:01 (eight years ago) link

who's Miranda Lambert?!

piscesx, Saturday, 3 September 2011 23:15 (eight years ago) link

Interesting results. It was a decent enough album but the only song that stuck with me over the years was Paper Tiger

that's cute, but it's WRONG (CaptainLorax), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 00:47 (eight years ago) link

and Sunday Sun was my close second but I can't remember how it goes

that's cute, but it's WRONG (CaptainLorax), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 00:48 (eight years ago) link

Already Dead was robbed. beautiful album.

nerve_pylon, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 02:17 (eight years ago) link

Surprised "Nobody's Fault" isn't on this album.

reggae night staple center (Eazy), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 02:30 (eight years ago) link

lol cosign

i kinda feel like "Nobody's Fault But My Own" should be on this album, and if it were, it would be the best song on it imho

Mordy, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 03:25 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

i haven't played it in several years either, but at the time i was in the midst of a mopey decade so i was cool with the vibe!

― IT IS EXECUTION (Z S), Monday, August 29, 2011 10:14 AM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

haha same here - it's also the perfect morning hangover soundtrack

― licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, August 29, 2011 10:43 AM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban

^^

Aerosol, Friday, 23 September 2011 19:07 (eight years ago) link

eight years pass...

"round the bend" is a stunning track imo

majority whip, majority nae nae (m bison), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:14 (two months ago) link

Round the Bend is pretty great as River Man ripoffs go

― B-Boy Bualadh Bos (ecuador_with_a_c), Sunday, August 28, 2011 11:57 AM (eight years ago) bookmarkflaglink

comparison is apt, tho "round the bend" is more languid

majority whip, majority nae nae (m bison), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:16 (two months ago) link

if you cut like four songs from this record it would be astonishing

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:18 (two months ago) link

They're all good imho. I never understood this album's bad rep.

coco vide (pomenitul), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:19 (two months ago) link

my problem with it is it's so one-note for so long it's a little like walking through mud

the songs are all basically good though, you're right

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:21 (two months ago) link

That's fair, I guess I've always had an inordinately high tolerance for that kind of quagmire.

coco vide (pomenitul), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:22 (two months ago) link

They're all good imho. I never understood this album's bad rep.

― coco vide (pomenitul), Friday, March 27, 2020 10:19 AM (four minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

none of the songs bang is the problem and the lane of prettiness it occupies is not everyone's cup of tea, i get it. also a lot of the songs have obvious points of comparison. its not a genre exercise so much as it is a tribute album with immaculate production.

majority whip, majority nae nae (m bison), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:25 (two months ago) link

It's derivative, no doubt about it, but that didn't bother me when I first heard it at the ripe age of 17, with little to no awareness of its touchstones.

coco vide (pomenitul), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:28 (two months ago) link

same (we are abt the same age then, i was 16 when this came out)

majority whip, majority nae nae (m bison), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:29 (two months ago) link

I may have actually decided to check out Histoire de Melody Nelson after hearing this, and while the comparison became obvious afterwards, it only added to my enjoyment. Then again, I haven't revisited Sea Change in years, so who knows how I'd respond to it now.

coco vide (pomenitul), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:31 (two months ago) link

paper tiger is still good and makes me feel less shitty than listening to gainsbourg

majority whip, majority nae nae (m bison), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:34 (two months ago) link

"Round the Bend" & "Side of the Road" tower above the rest on this album imo. Most of the rest would be lot better if the arrangements would get out of way of the songs. A stripped down de-Godriched version of this in the style of the de-Spectored Let It Be would be amazing.

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Friday, 27 March 2020 15:38 (two months ago) link

no actually it wd be bad, there isnt a lot going on in these songs without the production ime

majority whip, majority nae nae (m bison), Friday, 27 March 2020 16:04 (two months ago) link

after the 3rd or 4th song with that same tinkly synth sound my eyes glaze over, wld much rather hear becks guitar playing most of the time

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Friday, 27 March 2020 16:13 (two months ago) link

Paper Tiger and Lonesome Tears are both really good, for different reasons. In my deep madness of Beck superfandom I bought the Japanese import CD, and "Ship In the Bottle" is a pretty good song too. Lost Cause I don't care for.

BLU SAPHIR, BUT WHY (Tom Violence), Friday, 27 March 2020 17:24 (two months ago) link

The melancholy is effective, the sadness is not. Maybe it's too maudlin for me to hear it as authentically sad? The strings sweeten things up so much that it doesn't feel stark or lonely, it feels like watching a pops orchestra in a thunderstorm.

BLU SAPHIR, BUT WHY (Tom Violence), Friday, 27 March 2020 17:28 (two months ago) link

Yeah there’s a bit of that. It came out when I was in the midst of a breakup so I really prepped myself to get nicely crushed by it but ultimately it kinda felt artificial. Still some great songs. Soft spot for « Guess I’m Doing Fine » for its Hank Williams references

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 27 March 2020 18:23 (two months ago) link

Oh yeah the songs are great, aside from Lost Cause. And the production is really lush. Nigel and Beck's dad really pulled through. When I'm sad, I'm more likely to hit up One Foot In the Grave-- there's a picture in the liner of Beck by himself in a room with no furniture and linoleum from the '50s, playing guitar in a rickety chair wearing a couple layers of flannel and a wool beanie like the room is neither furnished nor heated, and that's kind of what the album is like.

BLU SAPHIR, BUT WHY (Tom Violence), Friday, 27 March 2020 18:26 (two months ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.