The Beck Oeuvre #9: Alameda

Beck at the Elliott Smith tribute concert

A few weeks after Elliott Smith‘s death, a tribute concert was held in Los Angeles. Beck performed at it, playing three songs. Apparently Beck and Smith were pretty decent friends; I believe Beck said once they had plans to work together, but never found the time before his death. I’ll do better and find the quotes for the next Smith song when we get to it…


I’ve become a pretty BIG Elliott Smith fan in the past few years. He’s another one of those artists that I somehow seem to get into late in the game, but once I get into them, LOVE. Anyways, Beck does a lovely cover of “Alameda.” Beck spins the song in his own unique style. His acoustic guitar work on the song reminds me of other acoustic songs I’ve heard him play. Right now the song “Rosalie” comes to mind, but there are others. I can’t really put my finger exactly on the similarities, but that’s the instant connection my brain makes. I also LOVE Beck’s voice and singing on this song. Its so very sincere and direct and compliments the lyrics/music of the song.


I will not claim to be the world’s biggest Smith fan, but I love how Beck makes this song his own. That is, with the fingerpicked guitar as opposed to Smith’s strums. Beck’s tender Sea Change vocals. Beck put his heart into this…


I must admit that I never really got into Elliot Smith until after he died. It’s shameful, I know, but it took that event to force me to pay attention to him. Now, though, I really enjoy most of his stuff. Unfortunately, ‘Alameda’ isn’t a song I really know, except through Beck’s cover.

It’s too bad my recording of this song — from the Elliot Smith memorial concert — is kind of on the sucky side. The song sounds really pretty, and Beck is obviously putting his heart into it. I’m sure performing Elliot’s songs at this concert was really difficult for him, but it sounds like he pulled it off.

I didn’t realize Newt also said that Beck “put his heart into it” when I wrote the same thing, but it’s so true, that I’ll leave my reaction in even if it’s repetitive.

Here is Beck’s version. (It’s in m4a format for some reason, that’s what I had on my computer.)

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