The Beck Oeuvre: Song #3 “1000BPM”

Comin’ at you a thousand beats per minute! Not surprisingly, most of our thoughts of this song revolve around bears:


I do believe I am one of the first people to have heard this song in public. He debuted it as part of the encore of the night on May 24, 2006 at Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, which was the first show of the pre-release tour for The Information. My excitement level for that show was out of control, which had a lot to do with the fact that my first Beck show had been at the same venue nine years prior. (That’s another story that I’m sure I’ll tell in a different blurb.) It was awesome to see the debut of the puppets and the puppet videos without knowing anything at all about those ahead of time, but I admit I was disappointed by the energy level of the overall performance. It had started a bit with the Guero shows, but it was The Info tour when we as fans really had to begin to adjust our expectations of what a stage performance from Beck would be, and I wasn’t ready to do that then. This track left me with a particularly bad taste because as would become the routine, it was played over the speakers as the album track and not performed. Dancing bears, anyone? I remember leaving the show and being a bit ticked that it ended in part with a recorded track. I was very WTF about it at the time.

Anyway, when the record came out I absolutely fell in love with the song. I am a sucker for killer bass tracks. The Info came out during the time when I was driving back and forth way too much between Sacramento and Berkeley, and I blasted this song many a time on that long I-80 stretch. This is one of those songs I listened to on repeat until I had the lyrics down cold and could sing along perfectly. (I would never ever do that in front of anyone else, btw. That’s definitely an alone-in-the-car activity.)


The word this song brings to mind for me is “inorganic.” The song was never performed live, instead the record was played over the speakers. Beck’s voice sounds processed, with effects and echos placed on it. The beats are unreal, the bass has the precision of a computer. The lyrics are futuristic and sci-fi. A thousand beats per minute? That’s unnatural and extreme idea. Even the bears on stage for this song weren’t real.

Awesome Unofficial 1000BPM Video Of Legos:


In my opinion, ‘1000 BPM’ is one of the least accessible songs on The Information; this does not mean it’s actually bad. My first taste of Info was when the video compilation of ‘This Girl‘ / ‘1000 BPM’ / ‘No Complaints‘ / ‘Movie Theme‘ / ‘New Round‘ was released, and I remember not getting ‘1000 BPM’ at all. It was a song that I really wanted to like, but I couldn’t figure it out. The beat and rhythm of the vocals, to my ear, didn’t match at all with the beat of the of the music and it reminded me of a shitty Master P song. The constant clanging was irritating. It bothered me. I probably even lied about liking it so I would seem cool, but really I didn’t and I wasn’t.

When I actually heard the song in full, though, it started to grow on me. I started to get what Beck was going for, and enjoy it more for what it was. It’s still not even close to my favourite Beck rap, but I have a much greater appreciation for it. To me, ‘1000 BPM’ will always be a grow-er, not a show-er.

As a side note, at one point I created a track to see what a 1000 BPM beat would actually sound like. It was basically a drone, with individual beats completely indistinguishable.

Also, I like at live shows when this song featured bears humping giant boomboxes.

Also, I like that this is (one of?) the only Beck song(s) with the word “jism” in it.

Yes, Newt, it’s the only one.

And if anyone wasn’t able to make a show in 2005 or 2006, here’s what we’re talking about with the bears:

Got some good stuff up next for the “11.6.45 / 8.4.82 / 8.6.82” trilogy!

9 Responses to “The Beck Oeuvre: Song #3 “1000BPM””

  1. mervelousMEGUMI says:

    I, for one, love Rapping Beck. “Hollywood Freaks” was my immediate standout favorite when “Midnite Vultures” came out (“Debra” eventually took its place.) He’s included at least one rap (or pseudo-rap) song on pretty much every album since then, not including “Sea Change.”

    When “The Information” came out and most of the songs were streaming online beforehand, the ones that caught my attention were “Cellphone’s Dead” and “1000BPM.” I also love Nonsensical-Lyric Beck, and “1000BPM” is a prime example of that facet of his songwriting. It’s just a damn funky track that’s extremely fun to listen to. For whatever reason, I love the line, “Security cameras strapped to his back,” and the word “back” is all distorted-sounding.

  2. STFU Donny says:

    I like Newtron’s take on this. Why did this one make the regular album but “This Girl I Know” not?

  3. Beckish says:

    It’s 10,000 bpm fellas. Also one of his best songs ever. oh yea and btw he ahhhs.. not hums on 1000 pesos. And if it is 1000 bpm- since when did 10,000 come before 1000? Can you tell me that? Can you!! Please Enjoy

  4. Beckish says:

    oh i see no space between 0 and bpm. So disregard my last message and do not post anything. I am such a twit.

  5. Brian says:

    when they play this live did the puppets put my bear costumes? lol

  6. RockMeDiabeetus says:

    This, much like the rest of The Information, rules.

  7. mellow says:

    i like that lego video.

    that was fresh.

  8. tangerineo says:

    this song was one of my favorite songs in general. I had an mp3 of the “playing” of it at Bonnaroo and that got me excited for the album version (which is of course the same but free of cheers). I really liked the video with JMJ and the bears too!
    when The Information came out I in the middle of a few weeks of intro biochemistry material, and so I had trouble with this song always getting jerked to the top of my mind in that class!
    for a long time the first song I’d listen to every day was this song, and if I had a song come up on shuffle I didn’t like I’d switch to this song. therefore, on my account, this song has approximately 90 more listens than the next most listened to song, (Cellphone’s Dead). the only other song I’ve scrobbled more was an obsession that has 600+ plays in a few months.

  9. mikeC says:

    It’s loud!
    Fun stuff though. The Bear rules.

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