Postmodern rock wunderkid Beck Hansen’s best years may still lie ahead, but he has already revealed a masterful grasp of songcraft and studio dynamics. His best work has fused together elements of folk-pop, roots blues, country, white noise, hip-hop, and psychedelia complemented by clever—at turns biting or surrealistic—lyrics.
Los Angeles native Beck emerged in the early 1990s with the local alternative radio hit, "Loser" (Bongload 5; 1993). The popularity of the slacker anthem led his signing with Geffen, and a newly recorded version (DGC 270; 1994; #10) became a national hit, followed by an eclectic debut album, Mellow Gold (DGC 24634; 1994; #13).
Possessing an open-ended contract that permitted distribution arrangements with other labels, additional Beck material flooded the market in short order, most notably, Stereopathic Soul Manure (Flipside 60; 1994), a collection of home recordings from the 1988-1993 period, and the predominantly live acoustic set, One Foot in the Grave (K 28; 1994). The next Geffen release, Odelay (DGC 24823; 1996; #16), featured his tour de force production values, shifting effortlessly from hardcore dissonance to country blues while retaining a funky rhythmic flow throughout. By now an established star, Beck further consolidated his reputation with Mutations (DGC15309; 1998; #13) and the decidedly darker Midnight Vultures (DGC 490485; 1999; #34).
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