Beck’s new album Morning Phase drops next week, but you can stream it for free via NPR. And you should. It’s one of the best albums I have experienced since Bon Iver, since since Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky, since Ryan Adams’ Easy Tiger, Since John Mayer’s Continuum, since Pearl Jam’s Ten.
It plays like a soundtrack for a commute at sunrise along Lake Michigan on a crisp Chicago springtime.
Peter Tabakis over at Pretty Much Amazing wrote a splendid review. Here are some snippets:
It took just three plays for Morning Phase’s grandeur and potency to shame me for approaching it with unjustified baggage. As promised, the album is instantly familiar and welcoming, as if it were recorded at the tail end of the Sea Change sessions.
And about Beck’s maturity as an artist:
Thirteen years later, no longer the brokenhearted troubadour of Sea Change, Beck is now a married father of two, with middle age peeking out of the near distance. As such, Morning Phase casts a broader net, eschewing blunt confessional for elliptical universality. Its starkest departure, the undulating and abstract centerpiece “Wave” (a composition he’s been kicking around for some time now) blankets the listener in pure mood.
Morning Phase never sounds anything less than opulent. Its end run, “Country Down” especially, is about as good as popular music gets. Beck’s voice, most often doubled and sometimes tripled, omnipresent and in conversation with itself, binds and elevates this, his most consistently exceptional album since Odelay. But refinement and sonic curlicues can’t distract from a lack of innovation, which used to flow forth effortlessly.
I could not agree more.