# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Beck - Every Album, Every Song

  by Kimberly Bright

published: 5 / 12 / 2023

Beck - Every Album, Every Song


Kimberly Bright finds Sonicbond’s new book on Beck to be beautifully researched and totally compelling.

If forensic accountants can create a biography of someone using nothing but checking account statements, author Arthur Lizie can do the same with a discography. His annotated discography of Beck is thorough and detailed, but also honest and entertaining to read. Lizie doesn’t fall into the habit of the record collectors who suck all of the joy out of the hobby. While obviously appreciating Beck’s vast body of work, from the early homemade cassettes to 2019’s ‘Hyperspace’, Lizie will wittily describe each song and straightforwardly point out the missed shots as well as the masterpieces. It was amusing to be reminded of how silly Beck’s song titles can be. One of the main takeaways of the book is just how many serious players in the American and UK music business have jumped at the chance to work with Beck over the years: Calvin Johnson, Danger Mouse, Aphex Twin, Johnny Marr, Chris Hillman, Emmylou Harris, and The Dust Brothers, just to name a few. For the conspiracy-minded, this looks something like a semi-secret cabal who all know each other. Then again, his mother is visual artist/performance artist and actress Bibbe Hansen and his father is composer, conductor, and arranger David Campbell. His grandfather was Fluxus artist Al Hansen, who also named Brendon Mullen’s LA punk mecca The Masque. Another thing that struck me from Lizie’s research is the nearly complete disconnect between Beck’s work and the baby boomers who were among the first to review him. They simply did not know what to make of him, dismissing him as a “slacker,” back when that was one of the worst epithets to throw at a Gen X’er (and before the revenge of the millennials and Gen Z occurred) It’s irritating to see the regularity with which publications, mostly British ones like ‘NME’, ‘Mojo’, ‘Melody Maker’ (RIP), and ‘The Guardian’ but also ‘Rolling Stone’ and ‘Pitchfork’, gave Beck’s albums needlessly bitchy reviews. Seen from a career-wide retrospective, Beck is clearly still a DIY artist much like those who create music nonstop with no consideration of financial success, media attention, or making the charts – any charts – whether because they have made their fortune and can do what they like (Viggo Mortensen’s collaborations with Buckethead, Guns N’ Roses’ Izzy Stradlin) or because they are happy to be dabblers. He is frequently compared to Prince, and I learned from the book that he was the first artist allowed to record at Paisley Park after Prince’s death. For those who aren’t as familiar with the totality of Beck’s work so far, it’s reasonable to trust Lizie’s assessments. As a music obsessive, he is one of us, which is evident from his dedication: “...to everyone who didn’t have the money to spend on that import record just to get one hard-to-find song, who spent money on that import record just to get that one song.”

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