A couple of weeks ago, music (for robots) posted this remix of Beck’s “Guero” by the Mae Shi, which turns the song into some heavy reggaeton in an “attempt to capture the sound of 2005 in the same way Beck captured the sound of 1985” with the original.
Meanwhile, at Beck.com, you can hear a couple of newly recorded Nick Drake covers — “Parasite” and “Which Will” — and a number of tracks from Guerolito, the Guero remix album. (Hint: If you want to stop that irritating noise that goes with the picture of the satellite dish, click on “Discobox” and listen from there.)
It’s disheartening for me to say this, but the “Guero” remix, the Nick Drake covers and the Guerolito material are all better and more interesting than anything on Guero itself.
Don’t get me wrong: Guero falls short of Beck’s other output, but it’s still a very good record that holds my interest better than most albums by most acts. If there were no Odelay, no Mutations and no Midnite Vultures, Guero might have been a sonic landmark. But those other records all came first, and they were each richer and truer than Guero, on which the lyrics feel like they were written at arm’s length.
The remixes of songs from Guero have the virtue of juxtaposing Beck’s trademark voice and flow with unexpected aural landscapes, while the Nick Drake covers bring to mind the greatness of Mutations and Sea Change, not to mention some of Beck’s other masterful covers, like his version of the Korgi’s “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime,” which graced the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack. So I guess the silver lining is that this proves Beck is still capable of making gorgeous music with richness and depth, and also that he’s still interested in new sonic directions. I look forward to hearing it all.