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Guero
     

Guero

4.0 15
by Beck
 

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While Beck's never been shy about giving his numerous musical personalities their turns in the spotlight, never have they cavorted together like this. Guero finds the singer-songwriter indulging his hip-hop jones (most successfully on the affably dissonant shuffle "Hell Yes") and donning the Prince-ly funk duds he sported circa

Overview

While Beck's never been shy about giving his numerous musical personalities their turns in the spotlight, never have they cavorted together like this. Guero finds the singer-songwriter indulging his hip-hop jones (most successfully on the affably dissonant shuffle "Hell Yes") and donning the Prince-ly funk duds he sported circa Midnite Vultures (on the slinky "Earthquake Weather"). Admittedly, that's not a gigantic leap in and of itself, but he also drifts into the sort of off-kilter country blues that lent credibility to his tales of heartland roots ("Farewell Ride") and kicks out the jams like a Camaro-driving rock stud (on the riff-laden "E-Pro"). What's most interesting, though, is his ability to revisit those previously tilled fields and emerge with some fresh fruits -- a byproduct of his ever-evolving lyrical stance, which retains a good bit of Sea Change's melancholy without rehashing that disc's lovelorn tales. The Dust Brothers, who return to Casa de Beck for the first time in ages, also deserve credit for some nifty pop pastiche -- like the Flaming Lips-gone-to-Brazil groove of "Missing" -- that manages to reconcile the downright bizarre and instantly catchy. That these disparate elements work together without inducing whiplash is a testament to Beck's newfound relationship with his audience. The dare-you-to-dance hipster's smirk has been wiped away, replaced by the open smile of the join-our-party reveler.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Ever since his thrilling 1994 debut with Mellow Gold, each new Beck album was a genuine pop cultural event, since it was never clear which direction he would follow. Kicking off his career as equal parts noise-prankster, indie folkster, alt-rocker, and ironic rapper, he's gone to extremes, veering between garishly ironic party music to brooding heartbroken Baroque pop, and this unpredictability is a large part of his charm, since each album was distinct from the one before. That remains true with Guero, his eighth album (sixth if you don't count 1994's Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot in the Grave, which some don't), but the surprising thing here is that it sounds for all the world like a good, straight-ahead, garden-variety Beck album, which is something he'd never delivered prior to this 2005 release. In many ways, Guero is deliberately designed as a classicist Beck album, a return to the sound and aesthetic of his 1996 masterwork, Odelay. After all, he's reteamed with the producing team of the Dust Brothers, who are widely credited for the dense, sample-collage sound of Odelay, and the light, bright Guero stands in stark contrast to the lush melancholy of 2002's Sea Change while simultaneously bearing a knowing kinship to the sound that brought him his greatest critical and commercial success in the mid-'90s. This has all the trappings of being a cold, calculating maneuver, but the album never plays as crass. Instead, it sounds as if Beck, now a husband and father in his mid-thirties, is revisiting his older aesthetic and sensibility from a new perspective. The sound has remained essentially the same -- it's still a kaleidoscopic jumble of pop, hip-hop, and indie rock, with some Brazilian and electro touches thrown in -- but Beck is a hell of a lot calmer, never indulging in the lyrical or musical flights of fancy or the absurdism that made Mellow Gold and Odelay such giddy listens. He now operates with the skill and precision of a craftsman, never dumping too many ideas into one song, paring his words down to their essentials, mixing the record for a wider audience than just his friends. Consequently, Guero never is as surprising or enthralling as Odelay, but Beck is also not trying to be as wild and funny as he was a decade ago. He's shifted away from exaggerated wackiness -- which is good, since it wouldn't wear as well on a 34 year old as it would on a man a decade younger -- and concentrated on the record-making, winding up with a thoroughly enjoyable LP that sounds warm and familiar upon the first play and gets stronger with each spin. No, it's not a knockout, the way his first few records were, but it's a successful mature variation on Odelay, one that proves that Beck's sensibility will continue to reap rewards for him as he enters his second decade of recording.
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
His liveliest and jumpiest music in years. Suggested ad slogan: The slack is back!

Product Details

Release Date:
03/29/2005
Label:
Geffen Records
UPC:
0602498639238
catalogNumber:
000348102
Rank:
4566

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beck   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Harmonica,Percussion,Piano,Celeste,Drums,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Tambourine,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Moog Synthesizer,Kalimba,Hand Clapping,Slide Guitar,Vocoder,Sounds,Foot Stomping,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Money Mark   Organ
Smokey Hormel   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Joey Waronker   Drums
Petra Haden   Vocals
Dust Brothers   Hand Clapping
Justin Meldal-Johnsen   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar
Sean Davis   Bass,Bass Guitar
Roger Manning   Keyboards,Clavinet
Jack White   Bass,Bass Guitar
Charlie Capen   Sounds
Paolo Diaz   Voices
Kurisutina   Voices

Technical Credits

Beastie Boys   Composer
Beck   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Art Direction,beats,Audio Production
Eugene Blacknell   Composer
David Campbell   String Arrangements
Mark Hicks   Composer
Danny Kalb   Engineer
Eduardo Lyra   Composer
John King   Programming
Mike Simpson   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Dust Brothers   Programming,Producer,Engineer,beats,Audio Production
Kevin Reagan   Art Direction
Tony Hoffer   Producer,Engineer
Jack White   Composer
Marcel Dzama   Artwork
John Stanley King   Producer,Engineer
Brad Breeck   Sound Design
Adam Levite   Artwork,Cover Layout

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Guero 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 0 reviews.