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Album Review


Guero (2005)



What the heck is “Guero” you ask? Well it’s the name of the latest album to be released by the eccentric yet magically talented musician Beck. The artist’s newest release is another amazing example of the “junkyard-funk” sound that we have come to associate with most of his previous work. The music is a wild mélange of hip-hop, blues, slide guitar, and funk, amongst other genres. Ultimately one of the most appealing things about Beck’s work is how hard it is to ascribe to it a certain genre or style of music. Instead, it is always wildly unique and surreal at times. “Guero” is one heck of a cool album and features a slew of totally creative and original tunes; all of which are quite appealing.

Despite the fact that Beck’s music is sporadic it nevertheless all blends well; ultimately song ordering is not of the greatest necessity. In spite of this, the opening track “E-Pro” is a fantastic one to start off with. It is fast, funky, and concise and sounds like a more melodic version of an old-school Beastie Boys’ rock track. “Que Onda Guero” is the next song and is another excellent mix of hip-hop and rock. It grooves so well and is going to be a great song for the soon-to-come summer. The third song, “Girl”, has such a funny and wicked start to it making use of cheesy electronic samples. Immediately, however, the song jumps into a melodic poppin’ beat which is irresistibly fun. Beck also makes use of his wicked slide blues guitar to add a mini-solo mid-song – making it a definite summer day song along with the others.

“Missing”, the fourth song on the CD, is so chill. It’s slow and mellow and reeks of (I hate to say it again) summer vibes. Although it might be a tad too long, it is followed by a short and sweet little ditty called “Black Tambourine.” Just as the title of the song might indicate, the tune is somewhat hushed and dark with a mesmeric continuous drumbeat. The next track, “Earthquake Weather”, is very groovy and will leave you bobbin’ and shakin’ right where you are. Song seven, “Hell Yes”, is the one you might have already heard as it has been receiving a lot of radio play for some time now. It’s a good song (although not the best on this CD) and demonstrates very well Beck’s ability to incorporate many different musical styles into one. “Broken Drum” is next, and it’s down tempo with a very synthesized drum beat which plays behind Beck’s slide guitar, tambourine, and monotonous (in a good way) lyrics.

“Scarecrow” is, in some ways, reminiscent of old-school Michael Jackson. Using skewed scarecrow samples in the background, Beck manages to compile a great driving track with a steady walking baseline. Overall the song sounds like it could have been made by Canadian group Big Sugar. The next two songs, “Go It Alone” and “Farewell Ride” are nothing too special, but still warrant a listen. Ironically, the last two tracks on Guero are two of the best. “Rental Car” and “Emergency Exit” are so good I find it quite amazing that they’re the closers. Number twelve sounds like a crazy mix of Nirvana’s “Lithuim”, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix all in one; truly cool. Lucky song number thirteen is really rockin’ and sounds like it could have been released by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (minus the Nintendo-esque samples). It is a perfectly spastic way to end such a good (and wild) album.

Beck truly is a musical genius. It is very refreshing to listen to his unique blend of music especially when much of today’s groups are so unoriginal and similar sounding. The music industry is definitely in dire need of more artists who set themselves apart from all other musicians and who are willing to produce something that they enjoy without fear of severe public scrutiny. Guero is an incredible album, and it can easily be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates good, funky, and original music.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. E-Pro
02. Que Onda Guero
03. Girl
04. Missing
05. Black Tambourine
06. Earthquake Weather
07. Hell Yes
08. Broken Drum
09. Scarecrow
10. Go it Alone
11. Farewell Ride
12. Rental Car
13. Emergency Exit

Run Time: 49:47

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