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Beck brings the funk

Guero (Interscope)


Beck is a chameleon. Sometimes he’s the heir to the
old-school throne, sometimes he’s the king of
underground rock, sometimes he’s a somber singer-
songwriter, and sometimes he’s just the funkiest
white man this earth has ever seen. Beck #4 is the
Beck present on
Guero, just more proof that he really
can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

Guero starts off with the heavy-handed rock of “E-Pro,”
which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Stone Temple
Pilots album were it not for the fact that it’s, obviously,
better. Matching hard-rock riffs and a sing-songy “Nah
nah nah nah nah” chorus with funktified vocals, he sets the good-time mood for this entire affair.

“Qué Onda Guero,” sung in half-spanish and half-gibberish English, could be the heir-apparent to
“Hot Wax.” Only Beck could get a way with a verse like:
Mano blancos roll with crowbars
Sing rancheras on cheap guitars
Abuelitas with plastic bags walking to church with their Spanish candles
Dirty boracho says,"Qué putas
Andelay joto, your popsicles melting.”
Run better run da doo run run in the midnight sun…
I don’t like to throw the term “genius” around, but… well, just read the above again. If he’s not a genius per se,
he's pretty damn brilliant to write something like that and have it sound absolutely kicking.

Speaking of kicking, the other aspect of this album is dancing. This record will make you get up in your
living/dorm/bed room and dance all over the carpet like no one is watching. Which they’re probably not, but still,
the urge is there. I don’t even like to dance at shows, and I was finding it hard to keep my feet under control.

There are hints of quieter works on this album too, though. The somber “Missing,” wouldn’t have sounded too
out of place on the ultra-sad
Sea Change, but that track is quickly balanced by the heavy drum beat of “Black
Tamborine.” Everything on this record has balance between light and dark, hard and heavy, up and down. But it’s
the funky beat thrown in to the rest of it that ties the entire album together.

This is Beck doing what Beck does best. And, fortunately for us, he does everything near flawlessly.