Sea Change

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
Nearly a decade after he announced himself with the slacker anthem "Loser," Beck Hansen has become one of the most prolific, talented, and well-rounded artists of his generation. Artistic development is a rarity in an age of prefab teenypop, predictable rap, and recycled rock clichés, so Beck, who's delved into country, hip-hop, psychedelic rock, funk, tropicalia, and more, is a true standout. But nothing he's done -- not his stripped-down 1994 album One Foot in the Grave or the relatively straight-ahead Mutations -- foreshadowed the soul-baring, artifice-free tack of Sea Change, a sincere, folk-based album spun around breakup songs of the saddest order. Lyrically, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
Nearly a decade after he announced himself with the slacker anthem "Loser," Beck Hansen has become one of the most prolific, talented, and well-rounded artists of his generation. Artistic development is a rarity in an age of prefab teenypop, predictable rap, and recycled rock clichés, so Beck, who's delved into country, hip-hop, psychedelic rock, funk, tropicalia, and more, is a true standout. But nothing he's done -- not his stripped-down 1994 album One Foot in the Grave or the relatively straight-ahead Mutations -- foreshadowed the soul-baring, artifice-free tack of Sea Change, a sincere, folk-based album spun around breakup songs of the saddest order. Lyrically, the heartbroken Beck douses his beer with tears, sadly admitting that "Baby, I'm a lost cause" "Lost Cause" and "It's only lies that I'm livin'/it's only tears that I'm cryin'/It's only you that I'm losin'/I guess I'm doin' fine" "Guess I'm Doin' Fine". The undecorated lyrics belie a wealth of winning musical touchstones. The lush strings, gorgeous guitar picking, and aching delivery of Nick Drake figure into "Round the Bend" and "Already Dead," while confessional sob singers such as the Red House Painters' Mark Kozelek, Mark Eitzel, and Jeff Buckley inform "Nothing I Haven't Seen" and "All in Your Mind." Beck's intimate delivery makes the songs ring true, casting them in stark relief to the raunchy, Prince-ly funk of 1999's Midnite Vultures. Beck can't, however, keep his upper lip stiff throughout: With its swooning strings, slithery bass line, and funky guitar licks, "Paper Tiger" echoes Serge Gainsbourg's lascivious "Melody." But mostly, Sea Change finds our little musical wunderkind with a bruised heart and soul -- and the daring and artistic wherewithal to make something useful of it.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Beck has always been known for his ever-changing moods -- particularly since they often arrived one after another on one album, sometimes within one song -- yet the shift between the neon glitz of Midnite Vultures and the lush, somber Sea Change is startling, and not just because it finds him in full-on singer/songwriter mode, abandoning all of the postmodern pranksterism of its predecessor. What's startling about Sea Change is how it brings everything that's run beneath the surface of Beck's music to the forefront, as if he's unafraid to not just reveal emotions, but to elliptically examine them in this wonderfully melancholy song cycle. If, on most albums prior to this, Beck's music was a sonic kaleidoscope -- each song shifting familiar and forgotten sounds into colorful, unpredictable combinations -- this discards genre-hopping in favor of focus, and the concentration pays off gloriously, resulting in not just his best album, but one of the greatest late-night, brokenhearted albums in pop. This, as many reviews and promotional interviews have noted, is indeed a breakup album, but it's not a bitter listen; it has a wearily beautiful sound, a comforting, consoling sadness. His words are often evocative, but not nearly as evocative as the music itself, which is rooted equally in country-rock not alt-country, early-'70s singer/songwriterism, and baroque British psychedelia. With producer Nigel Godrich, Beck has created a warm, enveloping sound, with his acoustic guitar supported by grand string arrangements straight out of Paul Buckmaster, eerie harmonies, and gentle keyboards among other subtler touches that give this record a richness that unveils more with each listen. Surely, some may bemoan the absence of the careening, free-form experimentalism of Odelay, but Beck's gifts as a songwriter, singer, and musician have never been as brilliant as they are here. As Sea Change is playing, it feels as if Beck singing to you alone, revealing painful, intimate secrets that mirror your own. It's a genuine masterpiece in an era with too damn few of them.
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
Sea Change is... the real thing -- a perfect treasure of soft, spangled woe sung with a heavy open heart. It's the best album Beck has ever made.
Spin Magazine - Will Hermes
Ever since Odelay's misleadingly titled "Jack-Ass," Beck's been trying to capture the spiritual fatigue underlying his snarky superhit "Loser." Sea Change nails it just when we could all use a reflective time out. (9)
Blender - RJ Smith
This is folk gone perverse, like a harmonica dipped in Vaseline.

Sea Change is... the real thing -- a perfect treasure of soft, spangled woe sung with a heavy open heart. It's the best album Beck has ever made.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/3/2008
  • Label: Universal Japan
  • EAN: 4988005537744
  • Catalog Number: 91236

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Golden Age (4:36)
  2. 2 Paper Tiger (4:35)
  3. 3 Guess I'm Doing Fine (4:49)
  4. 4 Lonesome Tears (5:37)
  5. 5 Lost Cause (3:47)
  6. 6 End of the Day (5:03)
  7. 7 It's All in Your Mind (3:05)
  8. 8 Round the Bend (5:15)
  9. 9 Already Dead (2:58)
  10. 10 Sunday Sun (4:44)
  11. 11 Little One (4:26)
  12. 12 Side of the Road (3:23)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Beck Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Harmonica, Percussion, Piano, Glockenspiel, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals, Wurlitzer
David Campbell Conductor
Jason Falkner Percussion, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
James Gadson Drums
Nigel Godrich Synthesizer, Percussion, Keyboards
Smokey Hormel Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Electric Guitar, Saxophone, Background Vocals, Slide Guitar, Bamboo Flute, Bamboo Saxophone
Joey Waronker Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals, Beatbox
Suzie Katayama Cello
Justin Meldal-Johnsen Percussion, Piano, Electric Bass, Glockenspiel, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals, Upright Bass
Roger Manning Synthesizer, Banjo, Percussion, Piano, Glockenspiel, Harmonium, Background Vocals, Clavinet, Wurlitzer, Indian Banjo
David Cambell Conductor
Technical Credits
Beck String Arrangements, Art Direction
David Campbell String Arrangements
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Nigel Godrich Producer, Engineer, String Arrangements
Smokey Hormel Contributor
Kevin Reagan Art Direction
Autumn de Wilde Cover Photo
Jeremy Blake Artwork
Paul Bishow Executive Producer
David Cambell String Arrangements
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