Archive for the ‘Oeuvre’ Category

The Beck Oeuvre #17: Arabian Nights

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

“Arabian Nights”! Classic Beck Vultures weirdness. I wanted to point everyone to the interview Beck did with Andre 3000 and Big Boi of Outkast, where he said this song was inspired by them. I couldn’t find it on the web though: here’s the relevant part which I’d quoted over on Ghost:

“I’m gonna send you a B-side that I did a couple years ago that was very influenced by ATLiens. It’s called “Arabian Nights”.” He then said it was his tribute to them.

I’m still waiting for Beck and Outkast to collaborate!


[15:50:58] arabian nights: i always wish this was the song from aladdin
[15:51:03] Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where it’s flat and immense
And the heat is intense
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home
[15:51:16] Arabian nights
Like Arabian days
More often than not
Are hotter than hot
In a lot of good ways
[15:54:34] actually this song’s pretty badass as it is. just not as badass as aladdin
[15:55:14] it taught us all about lazer vizaginal rejuvination


Next up: “Are U Positive?”!!

The Beck Oeuvre #16: Aphid Manure Heist

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

“Aphid Manure Heist” is that goofy karaoke thing in the middle of <i>Stereopathetic Soulmanure</i>.  I don’t know who sings it–I don’t think that’s Beck.  The music sounds canned.  Anyone have any idea where the phrase “aphid manure heist” might come from?  The lyrics are all wrong too, it’s a cover of a Waylon Jennings song called “Amanda.” Enjoy that!

The Beck Oeuvre #15: American Wasteland

Friday, November 14th, 2008

OK, sorry for the break–I was out of town for six weeks. Thought I could maybe continue to manage this at nights, but turns out, working for a Presidential campaign takes up all your time. :) Anyway, we’re back. Sort of… “American Wasteland” did not really inspire the BeckFreaks.


I don’t remember which one it was, but after one of the L.A. shows earlier this year Groove asked Ghost how it was and he said “Beck played Devil’s Haircut.” I had to laugh, because although I’m sure it wasn’t his intention, in my mind his joke validated my opinion. WHICH IS. That I am sick sick sick of “Devil’s Haircut.” Yeah, I said it. I never tire of hearing Loser or Where It’s At, but for some reason I can just barely stand to listen to DH anymore, recorded or live. It’s the only song I skip on Odelay. ALL THAT SAID – I love this remix. It infuses the song with a megaboost of energy and then when it’s over – as the DJ notes – we’re ready to move on to the next song. Ohhh, yeah.


Ha! Well I guess I have to respond to that. I do have a love/hate relationship with “Devils Haircut.” It is my favorite Beck video! It is the lead-off track on my favorite album of all-time! It is so cool. But I also like to mock it, for Beck playing it at every single show he does, and it always sounds exactly the same. And sometimes I just skip it when I listen to Odelay, just like Deb. It is always there. (“Where It’s At” doesn’t bother me at all; I look forward to it at all the shows I go to.) So I am sometimes unfair with “Devils Haircut.” And then at those Nokia shows I just went to, I’m not exaggerating… “Devils Haircut” was one of my 2-3 favorite songs of the 2nd night! Sounded amazing! Rocked so hard. The riff was so perfect, and all those little bass turnarounds. So I make no sense with the song, I’m inconsistent and a hypocrite. I hate it. I love it. Anyway I should save more of this rant for “Devils Haircut” when it comes up.

“American Wasteland”–I find this remix so mysterious. I don’t know who that is sampled at the beginning. I don’t know whose idea it was to make this song a pure punk rock blast of energy. I don’t know if a band played the song, or if it was remixed somehow on a computer to get that way. I could probably look this stuff up in the liner notes, but I like the mystery.

Ooh yea! “Aphid Manure Heist” is up next!

The Beck Oeuvre #14: American Car

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

“American Car” is not a Beck song, per se, but a song by Bean. Beck sings back-up only. It’s a fun track, kinda goofy.

Here’s a note from Steve Moramarco (Bean), who, yes is the guy who threw up.


Well, first thing is that it really isn’t a “Beck song” but merely one where he lends his vocals to the bridge… I had an acoustic duo called Hill Of Beans (we have a song “Satan, Lend Me a Dollar” which was the inspiration for “Satan Gave Me a Taco“) and my partner in the band was out of the country living in Spain. Beck and I were friends, doing the folk scene together and our friend Gus [Hudson] (who put out Beck’s Stereopathetic Soulmanure and the Bean/Beck 7″ [“MTV” –ed.]) was doing an album of car songs. Beck recorded a tune, and I asked him to sing on “American Car” as well, which he obliged.


:Right off the bat – I don’t really like Beck’s part in this. I think it’s kinda the worst part of the song. BUT the song PERSEVERES.

This song is by far the best one on A Hot Wild Drive in the City. For one thing, most of the songs on the comp are, if I may say so, just terrible. Beck’s song ‘Put It In Neutral’ is pretty cool and dark and awesome, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the rollicking fun and excitement of ‘American Car’. ‘AC’ is the type of song that gets stuck in your head for three or four days and you don’t even mind. Those honking car horns, handclaps, and angry yet happy vocals just get me — wait for it — all revved up.

Ok, so speaking of car puns / metaphors, I have a story to tell. One time in high school I was in this Media class and we had a project for which we had to watch a number of related movies and write / present an analysis of them. I analyzed a bunch of movies that were written and/or directed by Don McKellar. The main theme that came out of them was one of journey, and a couple were actually road trip movies. When I had to do my presentation in front of the class I felt like being cheeky, so I tried to include as much car imagery and metaphor as possible. Every other sentence was a pun or a cliché. To me, this was absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, nobody else in the class noticed and I just looked like a boob who was giggling for no reason.

Sorry that story was kinda lame. I’m a little drunk now, maybe I could have told it better sober. It was funny at the time, I swear.

Zigga zigga wow wow wow.


This song reminds me of my college days, of too much time spent then with males who were neither boys nor men, and who were both infuriating and endearing.

Up next: “American Wasteland”!

The Beck Oeuvre #13: Already Dead

Friday, September 26th, 2008

First, a quick note for the next month these will be coming a little bit slower. I’m busy, working some insane hours for a good cause; I won’t be as quick to the trigger as I might otherwise be on these.

The next one up is a beautiful song from Sea Change:


I love the sound of this song–the echo on Beck’s voice, the comforting acoustic guitar licks. But seriously, how about the way he sings “measured”? The songwriting too–superb. Look how “measured” alludes to “pleasures” and “treasures” from way back in the song. I don’t have any particular personal connection here, but I think all around it is one of Beck’s best.

As you can tell from my part of the site, I’m big into the message of songs. What does it say? How does it speak? This one is strong: a simple look at the end of love. What’s more heartbreaking? The loss of love? Or after that loss, the good memories falling off the edge, into nothing more? Time wearing away the pleasures.


I think I’ve been in a happy relationship far too long to be able to fully appreciate emo-Beck. There are a few songs I like on Sea Change but overall I am not a fan of the record. This song in particular is one of my least favorites. Talk about a major bummer downshift from Allegretto. Dang. I mean, it’s a good song I guess. I’m listening to it right now and it’s very pretty but it kinda makes me want to stay in bed all day and I have way too much to do. C’mon emo-Beck, the past is a cancelled check. Move on. I’ll buy you an ice cream sundae.


I like this song very much. And I like the rhymes.


the other day i was listening to beck’s 1998 modern rock live show (date:1998-11-08 – check hub for that) anyway one of the questions he was asked was about books. and he talked about that he was reading a book called Already Dead and it just kinda stuck out, i had heard the show before and i just then said to myself. hey he named a song off sea change that. not that they have any more in common; i don’t know. but anyway

as for the song itself. it’s ace.

I did have some live versions I liked and wanted to share, but am unable to at the moment (on a hard drive not with me). Maybe one of the readers can megashare or whatever some–the Philly 08-17-2002 is a favorite of mine, or perhaps one with The Flaming Lips?

Next up the old obscurity, “American Car”!

The Beck Oeuvre #12: Allegretto Per Signora

Friday, September 19th, 2008

“Allegretto Per Signora” is a short Ennio Morricone jam that his band would play to intro a number of shows on the Odelay tours.

I was not expecting a huge response for this song, but was pleasantly surprised. As a live song from the mid-90s, it must have triggered a lot of good nostalgia for the classic Beck years.


Morricone is amazing. I love this track, I’m so happy Beck’s band started playing it. It’s so fucking rad. It reminds me of fantastic, crazy European films from the 60s and 70s. Here are some fantastic, crazy European films from the 60s and 70s that I love:

Danger: Diabolik
Zabriskie Point

Check this:


All I can say about this tune is. AMAZING. I just listened to the original, and I have to say that Beck and Band (I guess it’s really the band for this) really stay true to it. Few notable changes/additions that really make this tune a live gem: (1) the brass menagerie (If there was someway I could reunite these guys with Beck, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Who’s with me?) adds some jazzy fun to the funky tune, (2) Smokey on guitar and announcing Beck’s return in his smokey sounding voice (I’m drooling right now as I listen to this), (3)the more upbeat/fastpace of Beck and Crew’s rendition. Totally a great pick for a little intermission while Beck I am sure went to “refresh” himself. Would love to hear this song played again some day.


How lovely for me to be rejoining the oeuvre festivities with this treasure, after a travel-and-illness-induced hiatus. I know many of the frx have already heard all or parts of this tale, but this is a good place for me to record it for posterity…

Odelay came out the week that I graduated from UC Davis in June 1996, and the summer that followed was one of the worst of my life for various reasons that I won’t bore y’all or myself again with. I bought the CD when it came out, but never listened to it much until the fall, when – again for various reasons – things really began to look up for me. I’d moved away from Davis after graduating, but I was moving back for a good job. I remember listening to the CD on repeat in my friend Nathan’s truck while he was helping me with the move. I made some good friends at the new job and was starting to feel human again. 1997 arrived and I heard Beck was gonna be comin’ to town on Feb. 13.. I kinda flipped out; I think Odelay had really become tied up in my mind as an integral part of my recovery from the previous year’s despair, and I knew I had to go to that show. I remember walking with Nathan down G Street in Davis to Tower Records to buy two tickets. He wasn’t going to be able to go though, and I remember telling him that I’d met this cute guy at work and I was thinking of inviting him to go. I did, he accepted, and all these years later he’s my baby’s daddy. (Haha, it’s still a little strange for me that I can legitimately use that expression.)

I’ve got lots of vivid memories from the show, all of which were intangible for a very long time until I discovered the hub a few years ago. When I realized that there was actually a recording of it, I kinda flipped out. Again. That bootleg, super-crappy audio notwithstanding, is my most treasured hub download. Bringing us to the tune at hand, “Allegretto Per Signora” (or TV in the Kitchen, as it’s called on this particular recording). Being able to relive that charge of excitement and energy, triggered by DJ Swamp’s Are You Ready? and then built into a funky frenzy by this one… it’s just, it’s so linked to so much joy for me that it makes me bust way more than a little.


Always, Beck. I can funk legit.


So, I believe this is the first time I have heard this song. I may have heard it years ago, but I can’t remember.

In listening to this song, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it before as this was not anything like what I was expecting. I was expecting something a bit more mellow, closer to something that would be found on Mutations, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is also shorter than I expected, but is fabulous none the less. When the song initially started it seemed as if it were not going to have lyrics, but then, suddenly there is this incredible introduction to beck. I love how the crowd goes crazy, it makes me want to be there… I’m only over 10 years too late, and at that time, I don’t think my mother would have let me go to Santa Cruz, and she sure as hell wouldn’t go with me.

Looking at the date of this reminded me that that was around the time I started getting into beck. I was 14 and all the other girls my age were into the Backstreet Boys, and N*SYNC. They thought I was weird. They probably would still think that I am weird. But I probably have maintained a better taste in music. I am sure of this.

:) This is a fun song, and I have to share…here it is. Though to be honest, I have no idea what show this particular recording is from–it’s the only mp3 of it I had on my computer, and it was unlabelled. I believe it to be this show, but don’t have my CD of it handy to compare. Anyway, enjoy.

Next up, “Already Dead”!

The Beck Oeuvre #11: Alcohol

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Today, we turn our ears to one of Beck’s golden oldies, “Alcohol.”

First, a video for the song via YouTube. It is, quite cleverly, just a video of a pile of beer cans.


Alright, so I am finally getting around to doing one of these. I have intended to take part in this Oeuvre since the beginning, but it seems that a lack of memory and an abundance of things to do has prevented me from being part of this project.

Anyway, so alcohol. Alcohol is a good friend of mine, but it is also a song I have not visited in quite a while. Dot (my iPod) says it has a play count of 3. So let’s revisit.

I really enjoy the simplicity of this song. There’s not exactly a lot to it. I had forgotten pretty much all of the lyrics to this song, in addition to the end of the song, that came as a surprise at first, but I quickly remembered. This song brought back memories of my first year in university, which was also the year I became of drinking age here, as did all of my roommates. Needless to say, there was a lot of alcohol flowing around our place that year.

This song also reminded me of the following sign my roommates made for me after I was trying to convince them that alcohol helps solve problems, especially math problems. None of them had ever taken calculus or any university math course for that matter, so they still do not understand this concept.

Note the misspelling of ‘alcohol’.

Homer Simpson:

Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”


This is a nice little song. My favorite part of this tune: The music. The chord progression is simple, but poignant. I love the strumming with the integrated finger picking. Its one of those good ol’ folk songs that Beck wrote so many of during this period. I’m so laid back listening to this one. Favorite lyric from this song: “Now it is time for pie.” MMMMM. Pie. Love it. Listening to this song for the first time in a while. Ending just kicked in. Distortion and drum beat is kinda heavy and isn’t my favorite ending to the song, but cool none the less.


The very first Beck album I heard was the “Loser” single, back in the day. There was something hypnotic about this song. Who was this Beck figure? I was hooked. “Loser” and “Corvette Bummer” were so much fun. But this? This! He does folk songs too? Beautiful, hypnotic, calming folk songs. And about pie?! I can remember playing this CD single in my first university apartment: cheap furniture, video game system, pictures from magazines taped to the walls. I loved the turn into some weird noisy squall then, and still do now, even though it is almost like a whole another song to me (or at least, “Alcohol, Part 2”). I don’t care if this guy is a one-hit wonder with songs like these to back him up. I must hear more.



“Alcohol” is one of the first few Beck b-sides I got, and it remains one of my favourites. There’s nothing fancy or gimmicky about it, it’s just a clean, cool song. It reminds me a lot of high school, both because that’s when I first heard it and because of the content. It just perfectly captures that alochol-induced feeling of, if you’ll pardon the cliché, being halfway between the gutter and the stars. Who hasn’t had a night like this? (A: Bebo)

The two released version of the songs have very different moods for me. The freakout at the end of the Loser b-side version, and the higher production values, give it a more upbeat and wild feel to me. The Golden Leftovers version comes across as far more weary, haggard, and sad. The two takes are much like the highs and lows within the song.

Now it is time for pie:

DSCN1297.JPG by newtron

DSCN1191.JPG by newtron

DSCN1083.JPG by newtron

DSCN0897.JPG by newtron

DSCN0919.JPG by newtron

DSCN0896.JPG by newtron

DSCN0918.JPG by newtron

IMG_4197.JPG by newtron

And now it is time for a cool live version, Beck playing the song in Minneapolis on June 29, 1994 with Ray & Glover.

Download it here.

Cheers, Beck!

(update: newt’s pie photo links now work)

The Beck Oeuvre #10: Alarm Call (Bjeck mix)

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Not a Beck song, this is Beck’s remix of Bjork’s “Alarm Call” from her album Homogenic.

The only other relation I can think of between the two is this photoshoot from which I’ve included a couple of photos. I can’t recall if there was an actual dual interview or not.

As for the track itself:


I’ll be honest. I have this CD single, but not only do I have no idea where it is, I probably haven’t listened to it since I bought it whenever it came out (and I don’t even remember when that was exactly–I think I was living in Boston at the time, so maybe 2001 or so?). So I haven’t quite lived with this song like I have most the other Beck ones we discuss. I vaguely remember some sound effects that Beck used, but fear I’m mixing that up with a different Beck remix. Could I be more useless here today? I’ll make up for that in the next paragraph.

I did, however, just *ahem* obtain *ahem* a copy of the track and am about to listen to it right now! Enthralling, I know! The track starts out spacey, like the theme to Star Trek. Now Bjork is singing “this is enlightenment” and Beck puts some electronica and some piano behind her. Beck talks nowadays (for Modern Guilt) about keeping his songs simple, cutting out the extra chaff, getting to the core of a song. This remix is nothing like that. The beats are still going, and I am getting used to them and their clutter by now, but I can’t say I love it. There does not feel like there was any sort of cohesive idea behind what Beck was doing, and neither was it done in a cool “throw in the kitchen sink”-Odelay-collage way. I guess it falls somewhere in between those two. Now Bjork is singing about a mountaintop as Beck drops some Spanish guitar flamenco-style on there, whoa where’d that come from? I’m no fucking Buddhist, but this is enlightenment!

Oh yea, turns out those effects I was thinking of in the earlier paragraph are from a different remix–but I have no idea which one.


Homogenic is not my favourite Björk album (though it’s a close second behind Post) and ‘Alarm Call’ is not my favourite track on Homogenic. Similarly, I don’t tend to love Beck’s remixes and the ‘Bjeck Mix’ is not my favourite remix that he has done. What I’m trying to say is this: ‘Alarm Call (Bjeck Mix)’ is a steaming pile of mediocrity. I don’t actively dislike anything about it, but I definitely don’t find much to like about it either.

Actually, scratch that. Here’s what I like about it:

  • The name: “Bjeck” is a fun blend, and came years before Brangelina and Bennifer and all those things.
  • The latin themed last 45 seconds or so. Fun!

That’s it! Didn’t Beck and Björk fight it out in Celebrity Deathmatch?

Here’s a shitty picture I drew:

Björk’s whole face is really screwed up there, as is her whole body, but I really didn’t feel like redrawing it.

The Beck Oeuvre #9: Alameda

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

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.)

The Beck Oeuvre: Song #8 “Ain’t Your Time To Go”

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

This old song did not pull out much response from the FRX. We’ve got another cool photo from Momma (“like a driftwood in the night that was washed up by the light”), and you can download the song at the end.

Everything I would reflect on the song is over on the Ghost page. These KCRW shows, they’re must-hears. They are goldmines of Beckness, full of these wordy, rambling folk songs that he used to do so well. It was digging into these performances and the gems within that directly led to satisfy my musical obsessiveness, and eventually kick off this site.


Like a driftwood in the night that was washed up by the light of the moon that bleached my bones then sent me to the pile

Download me. (file removed)

Next up, Beck’s cover of Elliott Smith’s “Alameda”!