By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

  1. Replica (3:25)
    Available on Modern Guilt.
    Recorded at: Anonyme Studios
    Beck Hansen: Bass (Electric), Electric Piano, Guitar (Electric), Marimba, Producer, Vocals
    Danger Mouse: Beats, Keyboard Bass, Producer
    Drew Brown: Engineer
    Greg Kurstin: Piano
  2. Replica (acoustic) (3:15)
    Available on Modern Guilt acoustic.
    Bram Inscore: Bass
    Joey Waronker: Drums
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
    Jessica Dobson: Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals (Background)
    Brian Lebarton: Piano
Replica [Version (a)]:

Make a perfect replica of your life
Cut the paper with exacto knife
Tape it up, tape it up against the howling wind
I'm so tired, don't know where to begin
It's so unreal, it's all I need
This replica

I was the last to see me down on my knees
These antibodies learn to be the disease
And I learn to be what fights against me
Make a replica, a place we can sleep
We can live in a hollow tree
Grow up old and bury the sea
But when this replica begins to look cheap
I'd throw it out and now it's home to me
It's so unreal, it's all I need
This replica

Build it up
Build it up
This replica
Now we build it up
Build it up
Build it up
Build it up
The Song:

Sitting in the middle of Modern Guilt, "Replica" sounds nothing like Beck has ever done. Beck described Danger Mouse's beat for the song as "very challenging," and agreed that he never would have written to this type of music without Danger Mouse. It is a tense beat, the sort of percussive electro that grooves, but really is not particularly danceable.

I've said a few times that Modern Guilt is heavily about a struggle to find your way home, somewhere warm, to find a bed to rest. "Replica" builds on that.

Here, the focus is on the realization that the way to cope with the chaos is to somehow stand outside yourself. Hold up this replica of yourself to the chaos; while keeping the real you protected from the "howling wind."

In the end, the outward replica may begin "to look cheap," but regardless, it has become a comfort. Left unsaid is what happens to the real person. The unreal has been built up, leaving what?

These lyrics are easily some of Beck's most underrated. Who writes songs about this? There are surely lots of songs about chaos or struggle or trying to find your way home, a sort of "shelter from the storm" idea. But the idea to "make a perfect replica of your life" as a shield? That is unique, deep, and utterly fascinating.

Played live 15 times:
Earliest known live version: June 9, 2008
Latest known live version: March 26, 2009

Modern Guilt tour 2008-2009

"Replica" was never a mainstay in Beck's setlists, even on the Modern Guilt tour. He only played it 15 times out of the approximately 50 shows on the tour, and a few of them were pre-tour warm-up gigs, or smaller side show type things.

It has not been played since. I personally would love it if Beck found a good way to do the song with his band, but it seems that it may be a tough one for them to recreate and/or doesn't quite fit the live show atmosphere.