Almost A Ghost has been online since February, 2001. All lyrics are written by and copyright Beck Hansen, Cyanide Breathmint Music or Plastic Kosmos Music (unless noted otherwise), and are reproduced here solely for study and analysis and admiration. All study and analysis and admiration written by me, but may be compiled and researched from numerous sources. If this is not fair use, I don't know what is. Feel free to send me any copyright questions. If you want to duplicate anything I have written here, please ask first (I'll most likely let you).
For more information on Beck, go to BECK.COM.
"I couldn't sing my songs every night if I thought, 'Oh, I just scribbled this down... it doesn't really mean anything.' It's got to have some connection to me. It's weird that in America, almost every review I see says, 'Oh the lyrics are nonsense; they don't mean anything.'"
"My own girlfriend's always giving me shit about this. She's like, 'Why don't you just say what you mean?' But most of the time that's how I express myself. I don't think I would have gotten a tenth as far as I have if it was just clever wordplay thrown in with a bunch of cool sounds. People wouldn't have responded to it. I feel like I do strive to come up with the most simple thing, but it's got to have me in it. Otherwise it just feels generic. It's not that I'm using things to hide behind, but who says you're not allowed to open the palate of imagery and words? I don't understand who wrote these rules of what's acceptable and what's right. I hate that."
- My main point with this is hopefully to have people start thinking about Beck's songs a little more. I see a lot of comments about the lyrics being meaningless, or random, or just plain weird, and that's just lazy and wrong. His songs are much better than that. My interpretations are not the gospel. Perhaps I hit the target dead-on, perhaps I'm just rambling, perhaps I have quotes from Beck to back me up, perhaps I'm being ridiculous... anyway, I hope it's thought-provoking and enjoyable. Keep in mind, this is really just one fan's take of these songs.
- That said, I do strive to have a lot of the "factual" info to be completely correct. If you see any errors, let me know.
- Listed song times are the length of the song, not the length of the track. This is especially true for the live songs. If Beck talks for a minute about whatever before or after a song, that minute won't be included in the time, so your mp3 might be a lot longer.
- This is, of course, a work-in-progress. Probably always will be! :-)
1. Who are you?
I'm just a huge fan. I've been listening to, going to concerts, discussing, and following Beck via the internet community (mailing lists and BBS's) for a long time now. He's the best, and his songwriting consistently amazes me. I started this basically to keep information about the songs in a convenient place. Beck's comments on his songs, how he plays them live... I just wanted to keep track of these things. The site just sort of took off from there!
2. How can I help?
Let me know what I'm missing or forgetting that may be important. I don't know everything, so I often rely on other points-of-view to help! You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Where can I buy bootlegs you write about?
Don't buy bootlegs. That's a waste of money. There is a wonderful FTP site which hosts about a million Beck bootlegs, and it's all free. I recommend downloading from there. Or head over to the Beck.com BBS and find some nice fans who will make copies for you! [NOTE: The FTP site is currently down. I do not know if it is coming back. Fingers crossed though. It was a magical treasure box of Beck music.]
4. What about those live listings?
The listings of a song's live performances was something I started doing, just as a curiousity. It'd be pretty impossible to list every single "Where It's At." But I try to keep track of a song's life on stage as best I can. Unfortunately, the earlier years (1994-1997) aren't documented completely. I used the setlists from reports and bootlegs I have or have seen, but lots are missing. Those years should not be considered comprehensive, just a general idea of how frequently and when the songs were played. (Not unless I can be provided with a) boots from every show or b) setlists from every show.)
However, after 1997, pretty much all of Beck's shows have been documented via the Beck! The Setlists website and Beck.com. When I list 6 dates for a song on a tour leg post-1997, it should be implied that those are the ONLY dates that song was played. This is also why I could make authoritative statements like "Played at 14 of 16 shows" for the later tours.
Missing setlists! The only setlist from the Vultures tour I don't have is from August 27, 2000. Also missing are October 12, 2000 (show for Wired Magazine) and October 27 in San Francisco. Also two sets are missing from Beck's tour of Europe in the summer of 2001: July 4 in Sweden, July 6 in Norway.
There are lots of great and useful Beck sites about:
- The benchmark: Beck.com
- Beck fun: Stewoo.net
- Guitar chords AND the Bootleg Hub: BeckTabs
- Beck fans: Beck.com BBS
- Beck Sample Guide: The Sample Freak
- Trade bootlegs! Bum Rush the Show
- Setlists: Beck! The Setlists
- Beck pictures: Beck Beck Beck (nee Diskobox)
Thanks to Truck for answering my questions all the time. A number of similarly "e;inspired"e; fans have helped me out, as well, by e-mailing me suggestions and trivia and whatnot. It is of course appreciated! Thanks Nick, Trish, Lara, Suedehead, Andy G., Dave, Squeegee, Static, Scharling, Josh, Dan, Vincente, Chris S., Chonk, SuperArtie, Tim R, and Ryan E, and everyone else for the help. This site would be nowhere without other Beck fans helping me take care of it.
And, of course, Beck, for writing and performing all these undeniable songs...