Totally Confused
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

Versions:
  1. Totally Confused (2:24)
    Available on Fresh Meat + Old Slabs.
  2. Totally Confused (3:20)
    a.k.a. Totally Kunfused
    Available on A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight and 6 other releases.
    Credits
    Rachel Haden: Drums, Vocals (Background)
    Tom Grimley: Engineer
    Beck Hansen: Guitar, Producer, Vocals
    Petra Haden: Violin / Fiddle, Vocals (Background)
    Anna Waronker: Vocals (Background)
  3. Totally Confused (Golden Feelings version) (1:54)
    Available on Golden Feelings.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
 
Lyrics:
Totally Confused [Version (a)]:

I'm totally confused by you
I'm totally confused by you
Ten foot man making my lunch
I never understand, I want you so much
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted

Totally confused by you
Totally confused by you
Screaming in my face, whisper in my ear
Put me in a suitcase with a can of beer
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted

Totally confused by you!
Totally Confused [Version (b)]:

I'm totally confused by you
I'm totally confused by you
Ten foot man making my lunch
Never understand I want you so much
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted

Totally confused by you
I'm totally confused by you
Screaming in my face, whisper in my ear
Put me in a suitcase with a can of beer
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
 
Totally Confused (Golden Feelings version) [Version (c)]:

Totally confused by you
I'm totally confused by you
Ten foot man making my lunch
Never understand I want you so much
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
And I never never wanted
Totally confused by you
 
The Song:

The beautiful thing about "Totally Confused" is its simplicity: both the melody and words are minimal, but eloquent. Beck has a tendency to be wordy or complex at times, but sometimes he's just at his best on songs like this. Some of the images might not make sense, but they all go with the feeling Beck's singing about being bewildered (by you).

There are a number of different releases of "Totally Confused." It's interesting to track the versions, and thus the evolution of both the song and Beck.

The version on Golden Feelings is the first, and, frankly, the most inconsequential. It sounds as if it was recorded at the wrong speed, both in Beck's cartoony, slow voice and in the speed of the guitar. The song is much prettier than this. Somewhat similar is the version put on Fresh Meat, which may be the same recording as Golden Feelings, though it is longer, with the second verse. Beck did seem to raid his Golden Feelings recordings to fill up a lot of Fresh Meat.

The "Totally Confused" a year later on A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight is the classic standard. Beck uses his friends from that dog as backing, including some lovely violin by Petra Haden. Anna Waronker sings and plays guitar with Beck. This version is just great, all around, from the violin and singing to the rhythm and lead guitar. There's even a sound effect of a beer can being popped open after the line "Put me in a suitcase with a can of beer." It's a wonderful song, and I feel safe in claiming there's very few people who wouldn't consider it a highlight of Beck's early works.
 
Live:

Played live 14 times:
Earliest known live version: January 26, 1994
Latest known live version: June 13, 2006

"Totally Confused" is a popular song, and Beck continues to play it live on special occasions.

1994: RADIO VERSION WITH THAT DOG

One early live version of the song was on the radio in Olympia, WA on January 26 1994. Beck was backed up by that dog, just like on the recording for A Western Harvest. Their experience together turned this performance into something special. The bassline was huge and almost gruesome! (In a good way, I mean.) that dog's backing vocals were beautiful, as always. Beck made them all laugh when he changes the line to "can of. . .Lysol."

1994: MELLOW GOLD TOUR - GRUNGE ROCK

The "Totally Confused" from November 5 1994 in Spain was a full rock band version. The recording doesn't play the guitars so well, but they have a nice grunge simplicity. The basic arrangement though is much like the Western Harvest recording, just less the violin and background singers. I'm going to assume they played this song at least a few other times on the Mellow Gold tours, but this is the only version I know.

1996/1997: ODELAY TOUR - SPECIAL GIGS

There were three special performances of "Totally Confused" during the Odelay tours. Each was at a special, acoustic-y show; not a full-blown Beck tour show. On June 5 1996, Beck was doing a solo acoustic show in Toronto. The audience was awesome! They request (and get!) "Heartland Feelings," "It's All In Your Mind," and "Feather in Your Cap" among others. "Play the song you did with That Dog please," a lady asked kindly from the audience. While she could have been requesting a few different tunes, the crowd was happy to get a lovely rendition of "Totally Confused." Someone in the audience started whistling along after the first verse, and Beck noticed and encouraged it.

A more somber performance of "Totally Confused" appeared on September 1 1996. Beck played a little acoustic intro solo (which he repeated in the middle and end of the song), and there's some excellent drumming from Joey. It's just Joey, Smokey, and Beck on stage, I believe. It's slower than usual, giving it a more contemplative feel. "Put me in a suitcase with a can of excitement," Beck sang.

I also must mention the sublime country version of the song on November 19 1997. Pedal steel, piano, violin, acoustic guitar solo, everything. It was as gorgeous as it sounds.

(There were also probably occasional full-band versions on the Odelay tour as well, but don't know enough exact setlists to know how common. There is a new bootleg of one on December 4 1996; just a regular show, and they play a slow slightly psychedelic version of the song.)

2000s: VULTURES AND BEYOND

From what I can tell, Beck only played "Totally Confused" one time in all of the many Vultures shows. It was during the acoustic set in Hamburg, Germany on March 15, 2000.

Then, a few years later, Beck again pulled the song almost out of nowhere in Cleveland on October 25 2002. "Put me in a suitcase / So I can disappear" was his lyric change, I'm told. Again, it was just in the acoustic set.

Finally, a great band version of the song was played on February 14 2003. (The first since 1996-97, I reckon.) Beck says it was a request of Justin's (the bass player), and it is probably my favorite version of the song, up there at very least with the that dog one 9 years prior. Excellent!

 
Notes: