20
May 03

Beck-Golden Age

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 562 views

I like this new genuine heartbroken Beck, where his bricolage and fake hipster poses can no longer protect a broken heart, and he stops being anything but real. This is supposed to be the new authenticity, we are supposed to be real, and the realness is still fake-I don’t believe a word of our new rock and roll heroes, but I believe every word of this.

Hearing the supreme ironist talk of a golden age, in a sun burnished California drawl, and having that golden age be nostalgia that seeps in like contact poison is difficult. It means that what we assumed could protect us (the studio, artifice, stage craft, play, fun, love) cannot.

From the first notes of the singsong acoustic and the soft weeping keyboards and percussion, this is going to be a lament – and the words don’t betray; a road song with country starkness. A love song about moonlight, open roads, desert winds-it could be a series of clichés that he loves (like the underrated Midnite Vultures) but by the second chorus, just by intonations of certain words he destroys us.

It is the song that Dylan or Graham Parsons wanted to write, and the one that Dolly or Emmy Lou should cover, not that they ever will. (Though Johnny might and even if he doesn’t, it’s something to play as elegy in his funeral.)

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