Beck’s orchestral folk album simplifies his sound without stripping it down and shows off some of the best vocal harmonies in modern music.
Beck is one of those artists with such a large and varied discography that it can feel practically impenetrable. The list is daunting: twelve studio full-lengths spanning psychedelic, funk, and folk; collaborations with everyone from Thurston Moore to Childish Gambino; Yanni cover albums; the Song Reader project where he wrote an album of sheet music and let other people figure out how it’s supposed to sound. His accomplishments go on, and it’s for this reason that I’ve never tried hard to break into his work—in 2015, we’ll be coming up on Beck’s 30th active year of music (that’s a long way from “Loser”). So it might be a while before I dive in.
All of this is to say that his gorgeous new album Morning Phase is easily my favorite thing I’ve heard yet this year.