Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back “Sea Change” (2002)

Covering The Zombies, John Martyn, and Nick Drake during his sessions and tour of Sea change, Beck's influences are clearly heard and channeled this time around. While Mutations was all over the place, here Beck works on a very focused playing ground yet stretching some songs to the limit like the bare "Paper Tiger" or very solemn "It's All in Your Mind". His voice reaches such a level of power and beauty that could never have been foreseen coming from Mr.MTV Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack, especially in the country tinged "Guess I'm Doing Fine". There is just such a chilling yet peaceful tone to Beck's voice and overall melodies that fully captures what the man must've felt to put out such an unpredictable yet honest record.

Beck has always channeled his place in life and views throughout his albums, whether people could see it through his bizzare language and theatrics is something less debatable. Mutations was his Moon & Antarctica (read: Hopeless, disenchanted sad sack record) but you would have never known, but here we see the most straightforward lyricism yet from Beck. The bitterness ("Is that what you thought love was for?"), the one sided love ("I can't cry them anymore/I can't think of what they're for"), and hopeful hopelessness ("Let it pass on the side of the road/What a friend could tell me now"); Everything here is easy to read into yet nonetheless powerful or mysterious.

As much of a downer Sea Change was in 2002, it gave me a real sense that Beck went on this sorrowful, soul-draining spiritual journey so I wouldn't have to. It was quite the opposite but Sea Change turned out to become one of the best friends I've had. Life's turned out to be less of my own private award show of Mr. Holland's Opus and more of a grim train ride passing by everyone I've hurt and everyone that's failed to see how I've helped them. I guess I'm at the "Already Dead" part of my life working up to "Side of the Road", so it makes sense that the 2nd half of the album has began to click with me. It's also has begun to make sense how strangely beautiful the most awful moments of your life can be, especially when Sea Change is your soundtrack. –Allistair

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