Review Summary: Beck's 1996 classic deserves the hype it gets.
As a child of the new generation (I'm still just a teenager), I don't really remember the 1990s too well. I don't remember hearing 90s songs on the radio (although we did have a radio station that played 80s, 90s, and current music). Most of the 90s albums/songs I hear are either shown to me by my father, heard on the radio station that played 90s, or searched myself. I was reading a Rolling Stone magazine. They listed the top 50 albums of the 2000s, and at number 17, was Beck's Sea Change. I'm always searching for new music to listen to. So I loaded up iTunes, went to Wikipedia, and logged on to YouTube. I looked at the article for Odelay, and my jaw litterally dropped. It had almost all perfect, 5-star reviews, including a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone magazine. I decided to look up the songs on Odelay through YouTube, and I saw that it deserved the hype.
Odelay opens with "Devils Haircut", a 3-minute tune full of samples, and Beck singing about "garbage man trees" and having "a Devils Haircut in his mind". It's absolutly brilliant. The samples fit perfectly, and despite the utter chaos going on with all the samples and singing, it's intelligent and well-produced.
Jump ahead to "The New Pollution". The song opens with a calm, happy sounding tune, before going into a drum beat with guitar, then going into the magnificent chorus, before going into another verse, then another chorus, then a saxophone solo - yes, saxophone solo - then into a keyboard solo, then into a 2 verse-chorus sections, then ending with ANOTHER saxophone solo. How many artists have all that in one song? When I first listened to it, I was confused - how did the sax solo fit so well? How did such a strange song end up being one of the highlights of the album? Because it works. It's the quirkiness of the song that makes it wonderful.
Now run along to "Where It's At". It contains the most samples of all the songs on Odelay, and listening to it makes me smile everytime. The needle hitting the record at the beginning, the rapped verses, the clap-along chorus, the drum break (and the "That was a good drum break" line following it) - it's all the quirkiness you see in most of Beck's music (sans Sea Change).
I would recommend Odelay to anybody who likes music that is different. It is not a mainstream-esque album. It's a masterpiece and one of Beck's finest albums. 5/5