Beck has been known since the 90s for his wide range of musical skill and the creativity within his songwriting. His discography is quite dynamic and ranges from sample-based breakbeat hits to soft rock ballads and psychedelic melodies. His 2014 release Morning Phase ditches the spirit of his more experimental work, marking a return to the soft-rock, singer-songwriter hits of Sea Change. The result is a solid, ubiquitous album that blends his talented production work with excellent musicianship and songwriting.
The opening track of the album, “Cycle” is a soft but grand string overture that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The strong build of beautiful string chords leads straight into the second track: “Morning”– a slow ballad that echoes the title of the album. This intro to the album shows Beck’s talent for creating an atmosphere– within the first few seconds, the listener is immediately immersed into the feeling of a bright, sun-drenched morning– a feeling quite familiar to Beck and his hometown of L.A. As a result, the record already feels warm, welcoming, and strangely familiar to any listener.
Other highlights– such as “Blue Moon” and “Blackbird Chain” are well worth the listen as well. Both include his signature immersive production style, but incorporate classic folk and rock elements. The result is a very deep, full sound that’s a welcome addition in reference to older, more classic music genres. It adds to the familiar, homey style, but adds a more modern interest.
Altogether, Beck’s recent album Morning Phase is quite remarkable, and is definitely worth checking out!