By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

  1. Morning (5:22)
    Available on Morning Phase.
    Stanley Clarke: Bass (Upright)
    Joey Waronker: Drums, Percussion
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), keyboards, Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
    Ben Baptie: Mix
    Tom Elmhirst: Mix
    Roger Joseph Manning Jr.: Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals (Background)
Morning [Version (a)]:

Woke up this morning from a long night in the storm
Looked up this morning, saw the roses full of thorns
Mountains are falling, they don't have nowhere to go
The ocean's a diamond, only shines when you're alone

Can we start it all over again this morning?
I lost all my defenses this morning
Won't you show me the way it used to be?

We've gone all around till there's nothing left to say
We've wore it all down into something that couldn't be saved
We tore it all down and buried me underneath the weight

Can we start it all over again this morning?
I let down my defenses this morning
It was just you and me this morning
I've run all out of guesses this morning
Won't you show me the way it could've been?
The Song:

"Morning" was first heard in May 2013 at a live concert (see the "live" box below; the song was somewhat different).

Then in the summer of 2013, Beck went and recorded Morning Phase. For "Morning," Beck changed the arrangement a bit and many of the words, perfecting it into what became the lead-off track on the album.

Beck on previewing the song to NPR admitted that the song choked him up a bit. The song was the first time he and his Sea Change band (however Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Smokey Hormel are not credited on the final version of the song) all got in a room after many years, and on top of that Beck admitted it was the first time he was able to play an old guitar he had in 7-8 years (due to a back injury). So the song symbolized a moment to him that was very personal, and called it the sound of "we're all here again" after all the ups and downs of life.

So Beck came up with some chords for them to play with, and "Morning" was the result, especially after the band kept challenging each other to play it slower and slower. The slowness of "Morning" turns the song into a haunting, sleepy dreamscape. (And probably why Beck has never played the song live.)

The press has been making comparisons between Morning Phase and Sea Change, and while I think many of these are lazy, it is undeniable that "Morning" is a sort of sequel to "The Golden Age." Much in the instrumentation and space and themes of "Morning" can be tied to "The Golden Age." (And so is the opening chord, I think.) Normally I would be wary of Beck repeating himself so flagrantly, but he embraced it here and in a way ends up really adding power to both songs.

And that's apt: "The Golden Age" is a song about realizing you need to start over (but being unable to even try). "Morning" more or less covers the same idea, but instead of looking forward at an unknown road, wondering how to get there, it looks backwards and realizes, I may have just survived (and am all the wiser for it).

Those distant lights he could not locate in "The Golden Age" seem to have been found in the first lines of "Morning."

Beck's reaction to the song on NPR made clear that "Morning" holds a powerful personal connection to him. "The Golden Age" likely does too; that's a song he's performed constantly since he wrote it. Looked at together, these two songs, ten years apart, make a devastating combination.

Played live 18 times:
Earliest known live version: May 19, 2013
Latest known live version: April 16, 2023

Beck debuted "Morning" at a concert in May 2013, presumably prior to recording it for Morning Phase. The lyrics were pretty different, as was the arrangement:

This morning
There's nothing left to pass her by
This morning
Heard all the reasons tell me why
This morning
The wheel turned around to me
Took a river to get back to the sea
Gonna start it all over again
This morning
I must lower my defenses
This morning
Could you show me the way you used to be?

This morning
Will all the shackles blow away?
This morning
?? to the day
The stories
Miles beyond the grave
Can we start it all over again?
This morning
I must lower my defenses
This morning
It was just you and me
This morning
Playing for the fences
This morning
Won't you show me the way it used to be?

But on the Morning Phase tours, Beck NEVER played "Morning."