Review Summary: This album truly shows that Beck can do anything.
Ah Beck, known (then) for his ironic lyrics and switching genres as he reinvents them. This album was quite a shock to Beck fans, especially because this was the follow-up to the deep-fried funk party album "Midnite Vultures". The way he came to writing such a sad album is because of his long-time girlfriend breaking up with him for unknown reasons. Beck probably looks back at this as a good thing, because it is one of his most well-received albums to date. I can see why it was so well received, because nobody knew Beck could write such heart-filled songs. I'm not going to say "This album is so much better than (insert Beck album here)", because every single one of his albums are special and great in their own way. But this album, with an unlimited source of inspiration, great production and an elite strings section, was certainly pulled off with flying colors.
This album has some definite gems, such as the beautiful "The Golden Age", the great arrangements and lyrics of "Lonesome Tears", and the all-around fantastic "Sunday Sun" and "Guess I'm Doing Fine". "Lost Cause" is a very majestic song that has more of a spacy feel to it. These songs definitely do not disappoint, but for most of the other tracks, you need to be in the mood to like them. Some of these tracks come off as pretentious, such as "Already Dead" and "Round The Bend" (the latter has the worst lyrics on the album hands down). These songs are just over the top depressed, and that weighs the album down. Almost every single track has a great sound with amazing string arrangements. The lyrics I found to be hit and miss. Even though there are so many hits, it's not without it's misses. The great-lyric songs would obviously have to be "Little One", "Paper Tiger", and "Lonesome Tears". These lyrics really make you think, and put you in the position of Beck and what he's gone through.
This album is obviously a break-up album, and a very good one. The problem with this is that it's not really for anything else. You cannot pop it in just whenever, you have to be in the mood for it. One of the major flaws of this album is Beck's singing. Although he does a beautiful job with most of the songs, but with some songs it's just too much. His vocal styling on those songs just tell me "I'm sad and singing a sad song", but on his more impressive songs on here it's "I'm sad and made it into a good thing". This album made me realize that there is a fine line between those two, it can be extremely easy to cross over. Another flaw, a bit more minor, is the arangement of the tracks. There are two primary types of songs on this album: upbeat songs and downbeat songs. They are mixed together, kind of ruining the mood. For example, the depressing "Already Dead" is followed by the uplifting "Sunday Sun". Other than those two flaws and the ones I mentioned earlier, this is a very nice break-up album that is sure to help whenever you need it.