Skip to main content

BECK'S MORNING PHASE

Moving from mourning into morning, as the poem by Barker goes, Beck, the magpie musician who rose to fame in 1994 with the cult hit slacker classic Mellow Gold, with silly but fun songs, has become, over time, arguably the best singer-songwriter-composer of his generation, a post-modern Bob Dylan.  Oddly, he is a scientologist, but then again, Prince is a Jehovah's Witness - musicians are an odd lot.  I liked some of his albums a lot, especially the moody, dreamy ones.

Anyway, as everyone knows (the media blitz has been huge) he is back after six years with Morning Phase, an album modelled on the Wilson classic Laurel Canyon style of the moody 70s.  This is the sequel to his best album, and least zany, Sea Change, from 2002, now considered something of a classic.  Beck's albums are now prized events, because they are so well-wrought, and lovingly crafted.  Morning Phase will be on Eyewear's list of the best albums of 2014 - it may well top it.

This album is certainly the most lyrical and beautiful album I have heard in several years.  It is achingly gorgeous in places - 'Wave' especially - with strings and arrangements that are a full gift to the listener.  It as if James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot and Nelson Riddle had worked together with Paul McCartney to craft an album of tender sad winter morning light, perfect for herbal tea.  Few albums can be put on to play over and over, without some clatter or break of mood or purpose or dip in quality, but here we have oceanic quality and depth.  David Sylvian has given us an album of this quality, as has Mazzy Star.  It is lovely to think Beck's career has now given us twenty years of great and increasingly fine work - here is hoping he decides to focus on his country twangs and soaring strings in future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…

THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand

THE BEVERLY PRIZE SUPER SHORTLIST FINALISED!

Dr Bruce Meyer, a significant Canadian poet and writer, will be the final judge for this year's Beverly Prize For International Writing - the impressive super shortlist of 18 international poets and writers is announced below.
Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).

The rules of the prize stipulate that any author chosen for the shortlist agrees to accept publication with Eyewear if judged to be the final winner; and may not be entered into other competitions at this final stage of adjudication.
Bruce Meyer is author of more than 60 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portraiture. He was winner of the Gwendolyn…