Alec Reviews Music: Beck attempts to redefine pop with ‘Colors’

Alec Erickson

It is always exciting to see an album that is bright, vivid and exciting.

Album cover for Beck's Colors
Photo Courtesy: iTunes

“Colors” is one of the few albums in the pop genre that manages to come out on top in a diluted scene. The best part of this record is that it is from Beck, a musician with as many hats as records when it comes to his musical style. This is one artist who tries to keep things new and fresh all the while being self-aware and fun to listen to. “Colors” is Beck’s attempt to shake things up with modern pop music in a way that is going to be looked at for quite some time.

Ad

The 47-year-old Beck Hansen was born in Los Angeles, California and from a young age, he has been a prominent musician on the charts. The singer-songwriter has been active since the mid-`80s and released his first record “Golden Feelings” back in 1993. Beck has not been able to commit to one genre or another fully. While he can be described as alternative, this musician has tackled genres such as hip-hop, garage rock and folk. Each time he came out on top. His 12 studio records are as diverse as they can be with some of the ones like “Odelay” and “Midnite Vultures” garnering a lot of mainstream attention. This time around for his 13th studio album, Beck is aiming to redefine how we listen to pop music with “Colors.”

“Colors” is an 11-track record that clocks in at around 45 minutes in length. It is best described as more experimental than anything else. Beck clearly was challenging himself in the process because we hear him not go into any comfort zone or fall into any of the basic traps that accompany pop music. The important take away is that this record feels fresh no matter how many times you listen through it, even when it might be cliché at times.

Musically, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to “Colors.” Clearly some psychedelic elements begin to surface when you listen to tracks like “Dear Life” or “No Distractions.” What really helps the record is the rhythm guitar layered in just so that it helps the jam and funk elements shine through on tracks like “Dreams” or “Wow.” Obviously, percussion and synth elements are what make up a decent pop record. Beck is able to rework those themes into this larger-than-life sounds on tracks like “Seventh Heaven” and “Dear Life.” Beck works into most of his tracks a more in-depth chord progression and rhythm than one might find on other records currently and that is exactly what makes “Colors” stand out.

Lyrically, Beck has always had a knack for writing the stoner ballad and the same can be said with “Colors.” The songs are painfully self-aware that they are pop songs and blatantly point out the cheap rhymes and patterns one might hear all the time. When you listen to something like “Wow” and “Up All Night” you get the feeling that each word is deliberately written in a way that makes it seem natural. The important thing is the vocal performance from Beck himself. We can hear him move past the serious nature of his last few records and more into the shallow nature that surrounds the genre. For Beck, this works for his favor while he plays the genre. Tracks like “Square One” and “Fix Me” are some of his more solid performances on the record and do not seem overproduced like others.

Should you listen to it? Without a doubt!

Beck is one of the few artists that can walk into a genre and change it to benefit himself. “Colors” is a record that reflects the years that it took to be recorded. It changed and shifted so much in the process that you can hear it from track to track. Beck created something genuine and new this year. “Color” is one of the few records that deserves a listen.

Band info: 

Has contributed with artists such as Childish Gambino, Nate Ruess, Sia and M83.

Worked with Greg Kurstin to record “Colors” from 2013 to now, with the two of them playing most of the instruments.

Ad

Was heavily involved in the anti-folk movement of the `80s before releasing his breakout single “Loser” in 1994.

Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CTV_Ace.