February 5th, 2014
Episode 499 of 716 episodes
A lot has happened since Beck released his last full-length studio album. He suffered (and has since recovered from) a back injury that made it difficult to even hold a guitar. He recorded a new album, shelved the whole thing, and launched several other projects online, including an art gallery, mixtapes of his favorite songs, and "Record Club," a series of cover albums performed by Beck and his friends. There was also 2012's Song Reader, an album's worth of new songs released as sheet music for others to perform and record.Beck's last studio release, 2008's Modern Guilt, was a sometimes driving, sometimes trippy rock record, with droning slow-burners and psychedelic guitar anthems. His new album, Morning Phase (out Feb. 25), occupies a different sonic space, one more closely aligned with 2002's Sea Change. That record was among the most distinctive in Beck's catalog: A downtempo, introspective and personal journey. While Morning Phase isn't a direct sequel to Sea Change, it shares many of the same themes and sounds: less space-funk and more lush ballads, with soaring orchestral parts. It was also recorded by the same group of musicians, including drummer Joey Waronker (Atoms For Peace, R.E.M.), guitarist Jason Falkner and keyboardist Robert Joseph Manning, Jr. Beck's father, composer David Richard Campbell, is back as well, providing string arrangements — which you can hear some of in the song "Waking Light," premiered here.