Modern Guilt

Modern Guilt

4.2 8
by Beck
     
 

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Beck's new album, Modern Guilt, produced with Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, contains 10 new songs, and with the exception of last year's Grammy-nominated, digital-only single "Timebomb", Modern Guilt is the first new material Beck has written since the prolific stretch that produced 2005's platinum Guero and 2006's universally acclaimed The

Overview

Beck's new album, Modern Guilt, produced with Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, contains 10 new songs, and with the exception of last year's Grammy-nominated, digital-only single "Timebomb", Modern Guilt is the first new material Beck has written since the prolific stretch that produced 2005's platinum Guero and 2006's universally acclaimed The Information. Modern Guilt is a tightly assembled group of songs that range in lyrical tone from introspection and social commentary to off-the-cuff wordplay and lighthearted humor. Musically, the album's ten tracks vacillate between economy and experimentation, hybrid and pop classicism, while consistently manifesting Beck and Danger Mouse's shared interest in psych-rock, folk, electronic minimalism, and orchestration.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
At first glance, it seems like the teaming of Beck and Danger Mouse is a perfect pairing of postmodern pranksters, as neither musician has shaken the first impression he's made: for most, Beck is still seen as that ironic Loser, trawling through pop culture's junk heap, while Danger Mouse is the maverick of The Grey Album, the mash-up of the Beatles and Jay-Z that reads like a joke but doesn't play like one. Close listening to either man's body of work easily dispels these notions, as Beck has spent as much time mining the murky melancholia of Mutations as he has crafting neon freakouts like Midnite Vultures. He's made a career bouncing from one extreme to the other, occasionally revisiting the cut 'n' paste collage that would have seemed like a natural fit for the sample-centric Danger Mouse, but when he partnered with Danger Mouse in 2008, Beck's pendulum was swinging away from the Odelay aesthetic, as he spent two records on the lighter side, thereby dictating a turn toward the dark. As it happens, this is Danger Mouse's true forte, as his productions have almost uniformly been dark, impressionistic pop-noir, whether he's working with Damon Albarn on the Gorillaz or the Good, the Bad & the Queen, or collaborating with Cee-Lo as Gnarls Barkley (whose fluke hit "Crazy" had nasty rumbling undercurrents) or even blues-rockers the Black Keys. So, he turns out to be a perfect fit for Beck, just perhaps not in the way that many might expect, although the title of their album Modern Guilt should be a big tip-off that these ten tracks are hardly all sunshine and roses. Compared to the waves of grief on Sea Change, Modern Guilt trips easily, as this is a deft tapestry of drum loops, tape splices, and chugging guitars pitched halfway between new wave and Sonic Youth. This may not brood but it's impossible to deny its heaviness, either in its tone or its lyrics. Beck peppers Modern Guilt with allusions to jets, warheads, suicide, all manners of modern maladies, and if the words don't form coherent pictures, the lines that catch the ear create a vivid portrait of unease, a vibe that Danger Mouse mirrors with his densely wound yet spare production. As on his work with Albarn and the Black Keys, Danger Mouse doesn't impose his own aesthetic as much as he finds a way to make it fit with Beck's, so everything here feels familiar, whether it's the swinging '60s spy riff on "Gamma Ray," the rangy blues on "Soul of Man," the stiff shuffle of the title track, or the thick and gauzy "Chemtrails," which harks back to the sluggish, narcotic psychedelia of Mutations. Danger Mouse assists not only with execution but with focus, pulling in Modern Guilt at just over half an hour, which is frankly a relief after the unending sprawl of The Information and Guero. Its leanness is one of the greatest attributes of Modern Guilt, as every song stays as long as it needs to, then lingers behind in memory, leaving behind a collection of echoes and impressions. If anything, Modern Guilt may be just a little bit too transient, as it doesn't dig quite as deep as its subjects might suggest, but that's also par for the course for both Beck and Danger Mouse: they tend to prefer feel to form. Here, they deliver enough substance and style to make Modern Guilt an effective dosage of 21st century paranoia.
Rolling Stone
Beneath the DayGlo arrangements lie some deeply bummed-out songs about living in a time of war ("Walls"), environmental degradation ("Gamma Ray") and widening generation gaps ("Youthless").
Billboard - Mikael Wood
Built on shuffling beats and big basslines, the ghost-gospel arrangements provide a good setting for Beck's vocals, which hew closer to the depressed mumbling of Mutations and Sea Change than to the white-boy jive of Guero or Odelay.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/08/2008
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602517754416
catalogNumber:
001150702
Rank:
13279

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beck   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Flute,Percussion,Electric Guitar
Larry Corbett   Cello
Jason Falkner   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar
Greg Kurstin   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano
Joey Waronker   Drums
Chan Marshall   Vocals
Matt Mahaffey   Bass,Bass Guitar
Danger Mouse   Synthesizer,keyboard bass,Sounds
Brian Lebarton   Synthesizer
David Paul Campbell   Conductor

Technical Credits

Beck   Composer
Drew Brown   Engineer,beats,Audio Production
Darrell Thorp   Engineer
Paul Piot   Composer
Danger Mouse   Composer,Programming,Producer,beats,Audio Production
David Paul Campbell   String Arrangements
Paul Guiot   Composer

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4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
But don't kill him baby, because he still makes very good music after about 20-25 years in the business. This is THE cd for summer '08! This whole cd is typical Beck except for Chemtrails - the coolest song he's done since Debra, which was an overrated song. I saw him in concert once and he kept doing Mick Jagger poses over and over and over, it was funny. This album is like the third in a on-going trilogy - he's made 3 really really good albums in a row now. It was so good, I can't wait to buy the next one.
dygunraider More than 1 year ago
Modern guilt by Beck is a great album an underappreciated masterpiece. For very many reasons listening through it there is almost nothing i would want to change. So to start off....................... Track 1 :orphans, a very good song that is a great start for the album with its memorable thumping noise at the beginning that builds up into a very good song 4/5 Track 2 : gamma ray, This song is not quite as good as orphans but still serves as an above average song, the lyrics remind me of paranoid people for example, I could hold-hold out for now what with these icecaps melting down.. the song also has a part after the second chorus that sounds like a bunch of circus animals playing in unison... overall a pretty good track 3/5 Track 3 : chemtrails, after hearing this song i almost want to put ( of the thundering drums) next to the title a great song that seems to create some sort of fantasy landscape 4/5 Track 4 : modern guilt, this is one of the incredible songs on the album all of the album is good but only some of the songs are great, captures feeling detached and paranoid perfectly 5/5 Track 5 : youthless, not my favorite but it has some very memorable lines, : tied my leg to a barricade with a plastic handgrenade, 3/5 Track 6 : walls, once again another great song 4/5 Track 7 : Replica, a very well made song a bit weird sounding at first but in the end very well made/written 4/5 Track 8 : Soul of a man, very very catchy this song and the lyrics flow together really well( even though the lyrics dont make much sense) 4/5 Track 9 : Profanity prayers, a great song musical genuis and ironically unlike much of becks early work contains no profanity 5/5 Track 10 :Volcano, This song as well as being the last on the album is the last truly great song, A masterpiece i cant even desribe it very well 5/5. The only really qualm with this great album is that the sound is very quiet Making not the greatest album for the stereo but perfect for ipods and portable CD players - CM.
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