I have heard a few Beck songs, over the course of time, on the radio, and, quite honestly, have not been nearly as impressed with him as “they” have wanted me to be. So when I saw that his album, Mutations was listed in Tom Moon’s 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, I was skeptical.
This album was released in 1998, and, as I listened to it, I noticed that I had not heard any of these songs at all. Another thing I noticed was that, well, I kind of liked it.
Oddly, the caption for Moon’s article on the album says, “When There’s No More Confetti to Throw…” I’m not sure I get that, honestly. He calls Mutations “rustic earth tones and pastel shades blurred artfully together.” That I get. I think I agree with that assessment. It’s mostly acoustic, with some very mellow tones to it. The opening track, “Cold Brains,” almost has a country/folk feel to it, complete with harmonica solo in the middle. Yet, at the same time, it’s neither country, nor folk. My favorite track on the album is “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” which includes the tasteful use of the sitar…or at least it sounds like a sitar. The melody is haunting, as he borrows from the lyrics of Blind Willie Johnson. Track four, “Cancelled Check,” is full-on country, complete with pedal steel guitar. Also delightful is the track “Bottle of Blues.” Moon says, “If you’re new to Beck, start here.” I wasn’t quite “new” to him, but I agree, this is a good place to start. I gained a new appreciation of him through listening to this album.
Here’s a clip of “Nobody’s Fault…” Not the best video quality, but this particular one represented the album sound more than any of the others.