Review Summary: “Now I’m far from the world in your seventh heaven.”
Beck has always had a strong sense of himself, and a strong sense of humor, in his storied career. From R&B, folk, hip hop, alternative rock and more, he has established a willingness to explore any musical style he pleases. After the six year hiatus leading up to the Grammy-winning Morning Phase
, the gorgeous companion album to magnum opus Sea Change
, he was back and in a new headspace when it came to songwriting.
Shortly before the release of Morning Phase
and since, he’s released at least four singles, ranging from electronica, pop rock, and synthpop, including “Dreams” and “Wow,” both of which appear here. Those singles and Colors
display an experienced and polished approach from Beck. Never before has he so freely embraced the popular music landscape of the time as he does on Colors
. Beck’s talents as a songwriter allow him to have it both ways, by not selling out his musical personality and still producing an album entirely comprised of vibrant, pop rock hits. It’s the most rewarding avenue to take after the contemplative, patient Morning Phase
Much of the album deals with retreating to a blissful place away from the turmoil of modern life. Beck is weary of news cycles and modern technology ableing him to be accessible to the world at all times; “Up All Night” and “Dreams” both serve as relentlessly optimistic exercises in escapism. Tracks like these are his catchiest material since hits like “E-Pro” and “Devil’s Haircut” from over a decade ago.
A listener wouldn’t think twice about hearing “Wow” on mainstream radio. Still, the song contains a strange pop hook and maintains his quirky personality and lyrics, such as, “…Elephant in the room goes boom, standing on the lawn doin' jiu jitsu; girl in a bikini with the Lamborghini shih tzu.
” Beck’s sense of humor rewardingly delivers in “Wow,” and especially in “Dear Life.” The wry lyrics bring to mind the era of “Loser,” while musically it equally hearkens to the piano centric side of The Beatles, and the popular music of the 1990s that Beck emerged from.
Standout track “Seventh Heaven” makes the strongest impression with beautiful guitar work and one of the best and most emotive singing performances of the album, especially in the chorus. The title track is an exercise in pop rock that has enough quirky Beck oddities to make it more rewarding than if it were written by a typical band: strings and pan flute can be heard, the chorus takes on a new form at the song’s end, and background melodies subtly add to the song’s textures as it develops. It’s clear that Beck approached each song differently in Colors
, and it shows, despite the album more or less dealing with a similar genre throughout.
is a varied and blissful pop album that finds joy in our times, and Beck expectedly makes it interesting and vibrant to experience. He has decided to make something optimistic in the midst of so much unrest, and it succeeds in bringing a celebratory presence to a world that need it.