Modern Guilt

~ Release group by Beck


Release Format Tracks Date Country Label Catalog# Barcode
Modern Guilt CD 10 DGC Records 1775441 602517754416
Modern Guilt Vinyl 10 XL Recordings XLLP369 0634904036911
Modern Guilt CD 10 XL Recordings XLCD369 0634904036928
Modern Guilt CD 10 DGC Records B001150702 602517754416
Modern Guilt CD 10 Interscope Records B0011507-02 0602517754416
Modern Guilt CD 10 DGC Records B0011507-02 602517754416
Modern Guilt 12" Vinyl 10 Interscope Records B0011630-01 0602517788442
Modern Guilt CD 10 Hostess Entertainment Unlimited. HSE-70031
Modern Guilt CD 14 Hostess Entertainment Unlimited. HSE-71031 4582214504001
Modern Guilt 12" Vinyl 10 Interscope Records B0025358-01 602557034974
Modern Guilt Digital Media 10 [none]


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CritiqueBrainz Reviews

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The ever-youthful Beck has left Geffen and washed up on the friendlier shores of XL. A new label might signal a new approach on this, his eighth album. Well, partly.

It certainly means that Beck's got himself a new producer. It always seem strange that he - the sonic collagist that he is - needed a producer in the first place. Maybe it was just the discipline of someone who knew when to curtail the magpie tendencies that he needed. Here he's joined at last by Danger Mouse, bringing a slightly more organic feel while tightening up the usual kitchen sink approach. Two tracks also feature Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) on floating vocal accompaniment.

At the centre of Beck's universe beats a heart of purest nerdiness. This geekiness is both his strength and his failing. Musically his refusal to accept boundaries and deliver up the patent folky martian hip-hop was what made us love him in the first place. However when it comes to genuine songcraft Beck's never been easy to judge. While his ability to give us tunes of heartbreaking beauty was never in doubt his lyrics are less easy to admire. The cut and paste approach to words seemed playful when pitched against the peppy melange of days of yore. Matched with more conventional pop their obtuseness can tend to give you a headache. Do they actually MEAN anything, or is it just post modern tosh?

This is a transitional album at best. Tracks like the rubber-riffed Gamma Ray or mechanoid funk of Youthless could easily be from either of his last two albums. The lovely Volcano, joins the ranks of maudlin, tired songs that always seem to close his albums. Yet the broken beats of Replica, the odd, string quartet 'n drum spaghetti westernisms of Walls or the Zombies-like single Chemtrails all indicate that the world's funkiest Scientologist has plenty more tricks up his sleeve.

At just over 30 minutes, Modern Guilt is a slight addition in the Beck canon, and it feels vaguely ephemeral and lacking in depth. Where he goes next is anyone's guess. But it'll never be less than fascinating. For now let's just enjoy the fact that we're invited to enjoy the journey as well. A far from guilty pleasure.