Beck
One Foot In The Grave


3.5
great

Review

by pulseczar USER (67 Reviews)
June 27th, 2006 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


People with one name always seem to be more indulgent than normal two named people. Madonna’s gone from making controversial videos, to making porn books, riding on the coattails of the ’98 electronica scene, writing children’s books, and whoring Kabbalah. Cher’s gotten so much plastic surgery, that she once substituted for Michael Jackson’s nose at the last minute for a sleepover birthday party. Morrissey… well, he’s pop culture’s drunk, and disgruntled aunt. Finally, there’s Beck, who isn’t as messed up as the people mentioned before, but his hipster gallivanting of genres has made him worthy of his one name stature. One Foot in the Grave is an early taste of Beck, but it’s still got that Beck wackiness we all know and love. Or hate. It all depends on one’s views of Scientologists.

Beck’s weapon of choice for this album is folk, a genre that he’s played with quite dominantly throughout his career. Though in his later works he casually mixes all sorts of genres on his breakthrough album Mellow Gold, on this final indie release, Beck keeps it fairly simple. Maybe not so much simple, as it is traditional, as Beck grew up listening to folk heroes like Woody Guthrie, and Leadbelly. With these influences pushed up front on the record, most of the songs are steadily paced, lead by Beck’s out-of-tune guitar. The lo-fi streak of production actually does these rickety tunes justice.

Despite the stripped down edge the album has, One Foot in the Grave shows Beck’s unique style of nonchalant surrealist lyrics as well as his later works. With the shaky, deadpan delivery of lines like, “The world is your oyster/And the trash bags are your kids,” it’s known Beck’s abstract charm has a strong presence in all of the songs. Though these lyrics may seem about as meaningful as a stoned beatnik’s poetry, Beck actually gets the themes of his songs across very well with the bizarre motif of his lyrics. A more serious side, though still somewhat playful, is revealed in songs like Asshole and Girl Dreams. Dealing with relationships, they present a more connectable side of Beck, such as the “we’ve all been there” nature of, “She’ll do anything to make you feel like an asshole”. It sounds like Beck actually means it too, unlike the wry, but nevertheless classic line ”I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me"” that put the Los Angeles native on the map.

Let’s give Beck some credit, he has to have some tricks up his sleeve. And of course there are. A couple of noisy freak outs get onto the album, like a small anarchy. Instead of a beat-up acoustic guitar, fuzzy, chaotic electric strings jump out like an ambush. Burnt Orange Peel sound like the party song for an album that’s not supposed to let loose at all, complete with out-of-sync guitar and drum collaboration, and WOOHOO!s littered over top the singing. Ziplock Bag is slow-paced, and is really just a dissonant, and fuzzy folk song, with painfully growled vocals by someone who is too manly to be Beck.

Initially, I thought this album was garbage. It sounded like a bunch of half-baked folk songs with two insane breaks of noise, so it might be a grower for a lot of people. Despite not being as varied as Beck’s more well-known album, there’s still variety within these acoustic songs. This includes the porch blues of He’s a Might Good Leader, the country tinged Painted Eyelids, the pensive, subdued Forcefield, and the subtle hip-hop influence of Outcome. Alas, it still doesn’t awe like his commercial peak, Odelay!, the masterful folk of Sea Change, or the Prince laden funk of Midnite Vultures. One Foot in the Grave shows another style that Beck can handle fairly well, if not too sporadically. Better than any folk Madonna or Cher could do.



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user ratings (158)
Chart.
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
June 27th 2006


4527 Comments


I have massive respect for Beck. He's one of the best songwriters today. That said, this isn't exactly his best work, but it's alright. Nice review.

pulseczar
June 27th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yay for real names.

Two-Headed Boy
June 27th 2006


4527 Comments


haha Tom Towers, attorney at law.

pulseczar
June 27th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

:cool:

Iluvatar: oshi major tagging error

The Jungler
June 27th 2006


4826 Comments


Nice review. I might listen to this as I like Mellow Gold era Beck almost as much as folky Beck. Once again I say, Nice Review.
P.S. Isn't his last name Hanson?

pulseczar
June 27th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cousins of Beck can't hate this :mad:

pulseczar
June 27th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is that why you were kicked out of the Hansen family and now have to go to Thanksgiving with the boy band Hanson?

Zebra
Moderator
June 28th 2006


2647 Comments


I still haven't heard this but I think Mellow Gold might be Becks best album so I'll look into this.

AlienEater
June 28th 2006


716 Comments


Sounds interesting, I love Beck.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 8th 2006


721 Comments


You forgot to mention that Beck is a scientologist.

pulseczar
August 8th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The first paragraph hinted at it, silly goose.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 8th 2006


721 Comments


Oh, I didn't see that.

I'm a thilly gooth.

francesfarmer
August 8th 2006


1477 Comments


I wanted Beck to release a better '94 album. But I suppose this will do...Its still great.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 8th 2006


721 Comments


He should release a concept album about be born from a volcano.

francesfarmer
August 8th 2006


1477 Comments


He's going to kill himself with a cyanide breath mint.

StallionMang
May 22nd 2013


8173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So much HATE. This could possibly be the most underrated album of all time, it's that good.

Digging: Dalek - From Filthy Tongue Of Gods And Griots

BlownSpeakers
July 5th 2017


56 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review.



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