Friday, September 05, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 107 Beck - Midnite Vultures

Album - Midnite Vultures
Artist - Beck
Key Players - Justin Meldal-Johnsen - bass, Roger Joseph Manning - keyboards/synthesizer, Smoky Hormel - guitars, Joey Waronker - drums, David Brown - horns, David Ralicke - horns, Jon Birdsong - horns. Beck Hansen - syth, guitar, piano,keyboard, lead vocals.
Produced By - Beck Hansen

Release Date - November 23, 1999

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- My iPod seems to be loaded with about 40+ Beck songs, culled from various records. I realized recently that this record was not only not on the iPod, but it had been unlistened to for a fair amount of time. So, here we go.

Overview - Midnite Vultures is the fourth major label studio album from Beck. On this album Beck continued with his mixture of musical styles and the result, although slow sales wise, delighted fans and critics alike. The accolades continue to this day with regard to this "less than million seller" and Beck has continued to work on his music. He has also been one of the more popular bands/artists to appear on Saturday Night Live, appearing (as of this writing) six times.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Horns and canned drums bring up the lead off single "Sexx Laws". This uptempo and catchy opener sets the tone for what lies ahead. The drums are basic, but very effective. Even more horns and a strong bass starts up "Nicotine & Gravy". The slower feeling track has some fun vocal breakdowns and adds a lot of 70's funk feel both musically and vocally. An even more fun synth and horns are prominent in "Mixed Bizness". The vocals are phased between speakers on a cool sounding sort of delay loop. The track ends with 25 seconds of noise that are reported to be the sounds of robots "doing the nasty". Sounding a little like a track that went missing from the film Blade Runner is "Get Real Paid". The vocals once more get a robotic treatment. "Hollywood Freaks" has a strong hip hop feel with a solid back beat. Sort of quirky lyrics like "Sex in the halls..Niagara Falls" is sort of funny as it is just silly. Toss in some funk then wah wah guitars..mix with some vocal cross fades and you got it. The opening riff to "Peaches & Cream" sounds lifted from something, but I can't tell what. The vocals and music are a little slower than the previous tracks. Beck sings in a high voice at times and there seems to be a few "Prince like" screams tossed in there. The very tropical sounding "Broken Train" adds a nice touch to the record. It almost switches gears towards a strong Stevie Wonder based jam. The harder sounding "Milk & Honey" is sort of a head scratcher. The guitars are up, then out of nowhere it seems like a heavy piano line is dropped. Toss in some odd sounding instruments the track sort of rolls along like a slower Frank Zappa knock off. To add to your ears confusion there is a really prominent acoustic guitar break as well. Piano remains on the slower feeling "Beautiful Way". That is all quickly erased as the crunchy guitar on "Pressure Zone" opens up. Toss on some human beat box as the song gets rolling with samples of swords being drawn from their sheaths. The album closer "Debra" begins with a smooth horn intro and it all seems sort of "out of place". There are splashes of organ and some high vocals once more. Horns do a nice job filling in the voids and the guitar gets a wah wah yet clicky guitar workout. The track ends with 7 minutes of silence before a minute long section of electronic noise..not worth sticking around for.

Where are they now? - Beck is still active both recording and touring. His most recent effort is called "Modern Guilt" and it was released in the Spring of 2008.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The only time I have seen Beck live was on the H.O.R.D.E Tour on August 8, 1997 at what is now the Comcast Center. The evening was a lot of fun with bands like Neil Young on the bill as well. One funny moment was about mid-set when Beck reported from the stage he was about to embark on a rare, never before heard song than ran 10+ minutes long and he hoped people would like it...after a few scattered claps the band launched in to "Loser", which is probably the most well known track from Beck.

FDF Overall Take - At this time there is no "best of" Beck and that is probably a good thing. This gets even the casual fan to dive into his catalog a little more. There are hidden gems on all his records. Chances are you have Mellow Gold and Odelay (get this right now if you don't have it) but Midnite Vultures might be that decent "next"Beck album you need to get.

Links -

Official site
Beck on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3s have been removed. They were:
Sexx Laws
Peaches + Cream
Milk and Honey

All the tracks were taken from Midnite Vultures which you can buy here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 6:22 PM, Blogger Ello said...

I am so out of the loope huh? I don't know this group. But very interesting!

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Ello said...

Just kidding. I'm not that old! I sort of know Beck. But not his music too much. Just that one famous song of his.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger JamieSmitten said...

I saw Beck at a small auditorium in Richmond around 1996/7 -- Odelay tour. The show was entertaining, but I have never had the urge to buy or voluntarily listen to a Beck cd. Kind of background-y music for me.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

I want to get back into Beck - at least the older material. The new album, Modern Guilt, was a MAJOR letdown. This was when he was dancing the fine line between fresh artist, innovator and pop musician.


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