Beck has always been known for his spontaneity. Every one of his albums has a distinct sound whether it be the late night funk of Midnite Vultures
or the melancholy depression of Sea Change
. No matter what he was up to Beck always seemed to be making some unique and entertaining music regardless of it’s sound or style. In 2005 when Guero
was released some critics and fans started to question Becks creativity as many music fans referred to it as “Odelay pt.2.” While this isn’t entirely true it was quite evident that Beck was quickly running out of ideas.
When I first heard The Information
I didn’t really have much of an opinion. The album seemed a bit inconsistent yet Beck shows off more interesting ideas on here then he did on Guero
. The Information
shows off some unique and inventive moments but there’s obviously something missing. It seems like Beck has lost a lot of his luster; the music lacks the chilled out grooves found on earlier releases and it doesn’t feature many hard rocking moments either. Beck has gone for a more dance/funk type of style that is found on Midnite Vultures
only this time Beck throws a few more random tracks out there that don’t fit the mood. He throws in tracks like Movie Theme
which have the depressing vibe that would likely be found on Sea Change
and he lumps it between two upbeat dance anthems. Dark Star
is another dud as it possesses a calm and atmospheric chorus yet the song isn’t catchy or soothing, it sounds half-assed and worst of all uninteresting. Strange Apparition
reminds me of a Ben Folds Five tune as it’s bland piano arrangement carries the song. The big problem is that Beck doesn’t do anything fun or new and The Information
suffers because of useless tracks that aren’t exactly bad songs yet they don’t have any interesting or redeeming values.
The main aspect that keeps The Information
above a sub-par level is how Beck does come up with some very sleazy, upbeat, and funky tunes. Cellphone’s Dead
samples Herbie Hancocks “Chameleon” as it’s zany bassline and odd lyrical topic combine to create an original and upbeat pop tune that rivals any track off of Midnite Vultures
. The opening track Elevator Music
is also a fun and original cut as its psychadelic keyboard effects and trance inducing chorus blend together to form a strange sound that blends Egyptian sounding rhythms and zany electro-pop. Throughout the album there are many pleasant surprises, including plenty of sugary pop hooks and funky keyboard melodies but that’s it. When Beck attempts to think outside the box the music sounds dull and boring, not to mention the fact that most of the slow-paced, melancholy tunes are very out of place. No Complaints
is a mesh of folk and funk as it’s laid back chorus and folky guitar hook combine to create a catchy pop tune and although the song doesn’t sound out of place it’s doesn’t even sound like Beck is trying.
However the main problem with The Information
is how there are no rock tracks. Beck never leaves his comfort zone, he sticks to his funk-pop formula and never picks up the guitar to “rock out.” There are no guitar driven songs and the music focuses on wacky keyboard driven instrumentation, the overall sound is very dull and uninspiring. Beck never alters his lazy vocal delivery and his hilarious lyrics have all gone out the window. He definitely knows how to write some fun pop songs but his lyrical nonsense and energetic nature have all gone to hell.
All in all The Information
isn’t exactly a bad album but it’s one of Becks worst efforts. He sounds bored, lazy, and uninspired as the music contains a kinky yet laid back sort of atmosphere. There are obviously some excellent and completely original tunes like Cellphones Dead
, and 1000BPM
but they don’t save the album. Beck puts together five or six enjoyable songs and fills the rest of the album up with boring grooves and unmemorable choruses. It’s unfortunate that The Information
was such a letdown as it does contain some interesting ideas and concepts yet in the end it’s filled with to much uninspired pop fluff to be considered a solid piece of work.