Beck has traveled light years from being pegged as a reluctant generational spokesperson when “Loser” metamorphosed from a rejected demo in 1992 to a ubiquitous smash by 1994. In the decades since, he has crystallized much of the post-modern ruckus of the ‘90s alternative explosion, but in his own unpredictable manner: Beck's singular career has been one that's seen him utilize all manners and eras of music, blurring boundaries and blazing a path into the future while simultaneously foraging through the past.
Surfacing just as alternative rock went mainstream, no small thanks to his 1994 debut Mellow Gold, Beck quickly confounded expectations with subsequent releases including the lo-fi folk of One Foot in the Grave. But the album that truly cemented Beck’s place in the pantheon was 1996’s multi-platinum Best Alternative Grammy winner Odelay, that touched upon all of his obsessions, providing a cultural keystone for the decade from the indelible hook of "Devil's Haircut" to the irresistible call and response of the Grammy-winning anthem "Where It's At."
From the world-tripping atmospherics of 1998's Mutations (his second album to win the Best Alternative Grammy) and the florescent funk of 1999's Midnite Vultures through the somber reflections of 2002's Sea Change, 2005's platinum tour de force Guero and 2006's sprawling The Information, no Beck record has ever sounded like its predecessor.
In the interim following 2008's acclaimed Danger Mouse-produced Modern Guilt and the Grammy-nominated standalone single “Timebomb," Beck eschewed the typical album/tour/repeat cycle of the music business. Instead, he expanded into multi-media endeavors including a one-time-only live re-imagining of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" utilizing 160+ musicians in a 360-degree audiovisual production, and the equally unprecedented Beck Hansen's Song Reader, originally released December 2012 by McSweeney’s as 20 songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music--complete with full-color original art for each song and a lavishly produced hardcover carrying case (and since recorded as an actual album by the likes of Jack White, Juanes, Norah Jones, David Johansen, Beck himself and many others).
Beck's creative tide continued unabated throughout 2013 with three standalone singles released digitally and on 12-inch vinyl ("Defriended," "I Won't Be Long," Gimme"), custom-created performances for Doug Aitken's Station to Station series of transient happenings, life-affirming headline dates, and special Song Reader events in which Beck and eclectic line-ups brought the book to life for a few unforgettable evenings staged in San Francisco, London, and at Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
Beck opened 2014 with the 12th--and possibly most well received―album of a peerless career: Morning Phase. Likened by some to a companion piece of sorts to his 2002 masterpiece Sea Change, Morning Phase featured many of the same musicians who played on that record--and who also accompanied Beck for the rapturously received world tour supporting the record: Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Jason Falkner. Featuring the hits “Blue Moon” and “Heart Is A Drum” along with instant classics like “Waking Light” and “Wave”, Morning Phase harkened back to the stunning harmonies, classic Californian song craft and staggering emotional impact of that record, while surging forward with infectious optimism.
Beck rolled into 2015 taking the Album of the Year top honor at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, as well as the prize for Best Rock Album. Morning Phase also won in the Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical) category. With three previous Grammy wins to his credit, Beck walked away from attending and performing at the 2015 ceremony with double his previous Grammy tally. The music has flowed from Beck without pause since: from globe-spanning live shows consistently hailed as the best of his storied career to the 2015 psych-dance summer jam “Dreams” that NPR hailed as "urgently contemporary and irresistibly vintage,” USA TODAY labelled "a strong contender for song of the summer,” and ROLLING STONE raved “This funky little groove is giving us Midnite Vultures flashbacks in the best way possible.”
Beck released his 13th studio album, Colors, hailed in advance by ROLLING STONE as a “euphoric blast of experimental pop,” on October 13, 2017 via Capitol Records. Possibly the most aptly titled work in Beck’s storied discography, Colors unfolds in an intoxicating rainbow of auditory tricks and treats, making it a shoo-in for the summeriest smash of the fall season. Colors was produced by Greg Kurstin and Beck, with the exception of “Wow” produced by Beck and Cole M.G.N., and “Fix Me” produced by Beck. The album was mixed by Serban Ghenea, except “Dreams” and “Up All Night”—the latter previously leaked from the FIFA 17 video game soundtrack--which were mixed by Greg Kurstin and Beck.
“Beck has a style and a sound that could suit any era and fit any occasion… He playfully eludes easy categorization, and remains one of the most distinctive songwriters of the modern era… On Thursday night at a sold-out Palace Theatre, all of Beck’s many creative sides were on full display, as he and his cracking seven-piece backing band delivered a lively 95-minute set that mixed his big radio hits in with tender, unguarded moments… he seemed rejuvenated, enjoying himself as much as he did during his alt-outsider early days. Beck can bring the party with the best of them, while also soothing your broken heart if you need it. He did plenty of both on his grand return to Minnesota.”—CITY PAGES