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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Odelay

Beck

1996

Buy At Rough Trade
Odelay
Album Summary

Odelay is the fifth studio album by American musician Beck, released on June 18, 1996, by DGC Records. The album featured several successful singles, including "Where It's At", "Devils Haircut", and "The New Pollution", and peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard 200. As of July 2008, the album had sold 2.3 million copies in the United States, making Odelay Beck's most successful album to date. Since its release, the album has appeared in numerous publications' lists of the greatest of the 1990s and of all time.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.46

Votes

12534
Genres
Rock
Folk

Reviews

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

I loved this period in the 90s when the floodgates were temporarily opened to allow for truly unique and idiosyncratic music to make it's way into the mainstream. Record labels were taking chances again, trying to find the next unpredictability big thing in the wake of Nirvana's success and the creation of the "Alternative" classification. Is Alternative still a thing or has that simply evolved into Indie? Had Beck come up in any other time period I think he would have remained a fascinating sort of semi-outsider artist that was beloved in hip circles, but because he came up when he did, he was able to really let his musical ideas run wild and we're all the better for it. As a lad, I really identified with Beck's whole approach. His melding of genres, his surreal lyrics laced with humor, his thrift store hodgepodge aesthetic, his back catalog of smaller indie records that revealed his true range and depth, and then of course records like this one that showed he was capable of practically creating a genre of his own. In my opinion this record temporarily broadened the palette for pop music in the 90s and early 2000s; loosening genre barriers, interweaving samples more fluidly, allowing for more esoteric material, and essentially popularizing a sort of free wheeling collage aesthetic outside of a purely hip hop context. Though "Mellow Gold" is great and "Loser" was, and still remains, his biggest hit, I fear Beck would have remained a one hit wonder had he not met up with The Dust Brothers. They were able to give his musical vision the scale, flow, and shine it needed to cement his appeal with a mass audience. Together they made something that was not only unique and innovative and fresh, but something that was fun as hell. One of the first real big shows I ever went to was seeing him play on the "Odelay" tour with The Roots as the opener. Man, it was a good time. Almost as good a time as I had blasting this album on repeat from a boombox in the backseat of my friend's car during the summer of '96.

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Tue Jul 12 2022
2

Everybody's gonna throw rocks at me, but... I never got into Beck's music. All the songs seem to me a collage of somewhat haphazard ideas. There's a lot of work and pretty innovative stuff, but unfortunately it never becomes memorable or catchy (at least for me). It was like 52 minutes of "oh yeah, we're gonna put a tambourine there, oh and a robot voice here... And a sampling of that song at this moment", but it remains irrelevant at each time. Sorry. :(

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Thu Jun 24 2021
2

People say this album is ahead of its time and groundbreaking. I say its a pretentious mess of experimentation that doesn't work.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

This was very obviously a Beck album from the first song. He seems to skip from genre to genre in a care-free manner but he manages to keep a consistent theme through the album as well. Hotwax is country and High 5 is hip hop and other songs are blues. I see where he got his reputation as being able to master any musical genre. Fav songs: Devils Haircut, Hotwax, Ramshackle

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

A bizarre yet unique trip through the imagination of alternative rock and hip hop. Not always spot on, but a darn good experience. Favorites: "Devils Haircut", "Where It's At", "Ramshackle"

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

I had picked up this album a while back, and at the time I did not really care for it. Think I sold it back. It's interesting how my taste has evolved, because listening to it now I am really enjoying it. Maybe it's the wide range of songs, or my larger appreciation of Beck in general, but it's just got something to it. Call it a swagger, call it what you will. It reminds me a lot of Beastie Boys' "Ill Communication," but in a good way. The big hit songs are great, but the other tracks stand by themselves, too. Really surprising to me.

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Mon Jan 03 2022
2

This truly was a huge disappointment for me. A Grammy winning album that is jumping from genre to genre with each song, each time in a worse manner while sounding awfully a lot like Kid Rock

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Tue Jun 07 2022
2

A somewhat strange album in the sense that I don't get the hype. A couple tracks are pretty good but a lot of them are just nonsense. Album felt scatterbrained even though I normally like eclectic albums.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Beck rules, no idea how he does it but I look forward to every song as they come next. This album is so good and has so many hits on it, but even the non singles are great. Will listen to again

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Fri Aug 11 2023
2

How in god's sacred secretion's name, does BECK have a SECOND album on here? And what in the most insidious of infernos is Beckerton trying to do here? This album has less direction than Columbus with a broken compass. Hold this sympathy 2, and may I NEVER have to listen to this confused man ever attempt to rap or speak Spanish ever again.

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Mon Jul 10 2023
1

beck has some good ideas and there must be a reason for him being so liked but oh my god i find him so fucking irritating i feel like there's a kid next to me trying to tell me the plot to their favourite video game that they can't remember properly when I listen to this music. for that reason fuck this album its a 1

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Tue Nov 03 2020
5

Wait, this is where I meant to put the Quintessential Beck comment. It's a dope ass album, and like most Beck albums are pretty solid even over 20 years later.

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Sun Jul 17 2022
4

Alternative rock, 1996. Despite the fact this record was released in the 90s it still sounds really fresh and actually good. Since the first tracks it's clear that in this album Beck is very inspired and the tracklist is really well balanced between the different moods of the songs. Maybe this is not a masterpiece, but it's definitely a cult.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
3

A bit too noisy for my preferences. I like melodic Beck a lot more, and that only shows up on a song or two here. This still has a lot of famous songs, but they aren't my favorite songs. Liked it, didn't love it.

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Sat May 07 2022
1

This shit is weird, but not like in a fun way. It’s more in a concerning “are you okay?” way. It’s got some captivating rhythms, but some songs definitely gave me the creeps when I listened through the album. Something just sorta felt off throughout it. Overall, it was not an enjoyable experience.

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Sun Mar 27 2022
4

Sweet album. So completely unpredictable makes it really fun to listen to, and even with the mix of genres and random noises popping into songs they are still super enjoyable. 7/10

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Wed Jul 20 2022
4

The essential follow-up to Paul's Boutique (granted it was made with The Dust Brothers), Odelay showcases Beck's ascension from post-grunge slacker idealism to something far more eclectic and less predictable. Without this album, it becomes somewhat strange to envision a music atmosphere where indie rock musicians wouldn't pivot to two turntables and a microphone and remain complacent with their guitars and drums. We'd be doing sad hot dog dances in Houston at the thought of it. Good thing we don't have to. Favorites: Devils Haircut, Lord Only Knows, The New Pollution, Novacane, Jack-Ass, Where It's At, Minus, Sissyneck, High 5 (Rock the Catskills).

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Sun Dec 10 2023
2

No. 62/1001 Devils Haircut 3/5 Hotwax 1/5 Lord Only Knows 3/5 The New Pollution 3/5 Derelict 2/5 Novacane 1/5 Jack-Ass 3/5 Where It's At 2/5 Minus 3/5 Sissyneck 3/5 Readymade 3/5 High 5 1/5 Ramshackle 3/5 Diskobox 1/5 Average: 2,14 I liked his more melodic approach on Sea Change way better. This was just too experimental for me. Also I don't like how he handled the inclusion of different genres. There is nothing coherent that binds the songs together. The genre jumps were just too dramatic for me.

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Wed Feb 16 2022
1

I did not enjoy this album at all. It was a bit too electronic for my taste. The hip-hop inspiration felt a bit too messy so I couldn't really find anything to enjoy besides the last song.

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Mon Dec 28 2020
5

I like the instrumentation a lot, there’s some really cool samples and beats (guessing from the Dust Brothers) and some odd but fun grooves. Some cool effects to go along with some eccentric lyrics. Like his deep voice and some of the country inspired tunes. Not as strong at the end. Still a really good album though

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Heard it before. Nice nostalgia. Better than I remembered.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Noise jams, reminds me of childhood.

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Sat Mar 13 2021
5

Probably my favorite Beck album. It’s what he’s known for, genre-surfing. It’s got hip hop, acoustic, electronic, indie rock, all of it. If you are going to recommend a Beck album, it’s most likely this one. Favorite track: Devil’s Haircut Least favorite track: Computer Rock

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Sat May 01 2021
5

Fuck yeah what a freaky little album beautiful sax flutters throughout (especially Where It's At) excellent outros on Hotwax and Novacane (and a Daft Punk sample?), all the weird little dial tones, big cuica time in the bridge of High 5 (sick track overall).. heaps of cool little moments that culminate in an overall excellent listening experience.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Great Album! I'm also a fan of Midnight Vultures.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

Really great. He messed around with synths alot on this album and I loved how chill it was.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

One of my favorite Beck albums. Little of everything, and songs that get stuck in your head.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Great album, full of memorable radio singles

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

Singing along with every word. I had this album from its release day. Fabulous in its entirety.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

One of my favorite albums. Unique and weird and quirky and funny and funky. It was awesome then and it’s awesome now.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

This was great. So much more than just the singles.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

Where has Beck been all my life?

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Mon May 10 2021
5

Well it was Rock ? Good one actually... something different great lyrics ! A long one appearantly.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

I like it, will remember it. That is a sign i heaven, and I buy it if I find it to resonable prices ;)

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Wed Aug 11 2021
5

I put Beck in the rare air of Miles Davis, Prince, Trent Reznor, and a few others. Creative and talented on a different level.

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Sat Oct 09 2021
5

I love that Beck has always just defied boundaries. This album is now exception. Still as fresh as day one. Love that extended bonus content too.

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

Yes, Beck was great on this.

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

This was a favorite of mine in high school and still holds up well. If anything I appreciate it more now. He is a master of seamlessly integrating disparate noises, sounds, screams, etc into songs in a way that feels effortless, and somehow correct.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

When I first heard Beck, I thought this acoustic guitar-playing skinny white "loser" wouldn't amount to much. He had a hit and I didn't care for his music at the time. Boy, was I wrong! He has created an incredible catalog of critically acclaimed albums, it's music in a wide range of genres and his influence on popular music can't be denied. He has released some flat-out great records and Odelay might be his best! I reserve my judgement until I listen to all his albums.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

One of the only CDs I had in my car for a long time. Listened to it many times, still one of my favorites.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Vraiment bon, j’ai adore, le style est bien a lui, la musique , le son, la prod tout est a1 5*

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

One of my favourite albums ever

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

Although I had owned Beck's Mellow Gold, for some reason I didn't listen to Odelay back in the day although I was familiar with the big hits ("Devil's Haircut," "The New Pollution," and "Where It's At"). Beck uses distortion, samples and effects quite a bit on Odelay. This was front-of-mind after struggling to cope with The Jesus and Mary Chain's heavy use of distortion. I never struggled with Beck - I enjoyed the gritty distorted parts, the donkeys braying, distortion on the instruments and vocals, the record scratches and the other unique sonic touches scattered throughout. They worked well here and mostly enhanced the listening experience. I love the laid-back nature of Odelay. Lots of eclectic styles to discover: the exotic sounds of "Derelict," the driving "Devil's Haircut," the down-homey "Hotwax," the harder edged "Novacane," the dreamy "Jack-Ass," the punk-like "Minus," the twangy "Sissyneck," the out-there-sample-laden "High 5 (Rock The Catskills)," the quiet "Ramshackle." All the songs feel really unique, interesting and still coherent together as an album. Beck's music is really unique and at times weird and wild while still managing to be cool, unassuming and surprisingly approachable. It didn't immediately demand a 5 from me, but I'm happy to give it a 5 'cause I got nothing but praise for it. Odelay is doing its own thing and doing it really, really well.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

I capital L-O-V-E about half the tracks on this album. The loud, fuzzy downbeat of Devil's Haircut is a tremendous start for an album and the rest of the song is great --- gotta love a song with the word "leprous" in it. I also love the lyrically absurd Hotwax ("in the chain-smoke Kansas flashdance ass pants") and its extensive instrumentation --- there's some jazzy Charlie Brown piano in the background for just a few seconds near the ass pants line and some steel guitar that are both just delightful. Jack-Ass and Ramshackle are mellow, almost plaintive, and lovely. My other faves include The New Pollution (of course) and Where It's At (of course of course) and also the country-tinged Sissyneck. Beck's varied instruments and styles, clever sampling, and singable tunes make me a fan.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

I am familiar with Beck and this album has been living in my library since it was new in the 90s. I am a fan! I enjoy the mixing, sampling, and the variety of musical style performed by this artist.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

I hate finding something like this that I should have gotten 25 years ago. I really love it. "Devil's Haircut" and "Where It's At" played pleasantly in my background in the 90s, and I suspected that I might like Beck, but I never pursued his music as I ought to have. I love this whole thing lots. Its trip through genres is a trip I loved. Although I would like to share my affection for each track, I will just share my favorite pants-related lyrics from three different songs: "In the chain-smoke Kansas flashdance ass pants" "Going back to Houston/To get me some pants" "Okay, now do like designer jeans [...] ooh, la la Sasoon"

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Wed Dec 08 2021
5

A really good album post punk can be very divisive but this is just good music played well it doesnt soften too much that it loses its roots

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Sat Dec 25 2021
5

Such a great, diverse, funky record. One of my faves from my fave Scientologist.

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

so I listened to his first two albums to get ready for this (his third one) first album was Mellow Gold, punk meets indie, like a pre-Hobo Johnson 10/10 second album took a SHARP turn into blues territory, pretty good 7/10 now this third album goes back to the style of the first one for the most part, I’ll give it a 9/10, really good

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Two Beck albums on consecutive days, what could be better? This album was one that I loved when I was younger, and it really holds up. The Dust Brothers were the perfect pairing for Beck. Everything on this album just works. There's not a single song that I don't enjoy or that doesn't fit 5/5

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Really nice easy listening album

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

Beck's 5th studio album was in my opinion his best. It encompasses many styles of music and is a joy to listen to. Easily one of my top 20 albums of the 1990's.It’s chaotic, eclectic, inspired, and occasionally lucid and beautiful.Rap, grunge, blues,folk and country, garage, rock, electro, exotica, old-and pinches of noise rock are the ingredients that make this album into one beautiful big mix of magic.

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Very very very different to what I was expecting, my only previous exposure to Beck was Mermaid Avenue so. Beck sounds a lot cooler than he looks , which is lucky cos he looks a bit of a twat. Such a wide range of influences and styles but all blended together so cohesively, on another couple listens it probably will be a 5/5 so fuck it.

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Mon Apr 04 2022
5

Sporo naprawdę niesamowicie ciekawych dźwięków, które bardzo mocno mnie wyciągały z czegokolwiek co robiłem w tym czasie i zmuszały do wyłącznego rozkoszowania się muzyką. Ogólnie bardzo dobry balans spokoju i normalnej muzyki z nagłym uderzeniem "dzwiekuw przeruznyh". "Hotwax" wywarło na mnie ogromne wrażenie, razem z kilkoma innymi jak "Novacane" i "Derelict", z resztą niewiele było naprawdę niememorable utworów. Moim zdaniem album, które absolutnie zasłużenie znajduje się w tym zestawieniu.

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Tue May 03 2022
5

Excellent. Varied grooves, song structures, instrumentation. Really inventive and a great listen.

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Wed May 04 2022
5

Listen to this album countless times in high school, love Beck

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Þessi plata er eiginlega einn stór banger. Elska sándið. Elska ryþmann.

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Mon May 09 2022
5

It's like every existing genre in the '90s got together and threw a party. This mess has no business being this good! PS. The deluxe version's cover seems more fitting for this album.

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Mon May 23 2022
5

Holy crap what genre even IS this?! Obviously we are heavily rooted in alt rock here, but he really loves to experiment with sound bytes and styles in a very tasteful way. I love the ebb and flow of pure chaotic screaming to a smooth country tune, to 90's rap and DJ scratches, to an Arabian desert, to electronic beeps and boops!?! I really love this and he deserves all of the recognition he has received.

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Mon May 23 2022
5

Manic and experimental, wild and weird, there’s nothing quite like it. So many of these songs (and the entire album in general) feel haphazard and randomly stitched together and yet everything clicks. Every sudden genre switch, every vocal effect and every sound effect feels like it’s right where it’s supposed to be. I’d love to learn more about the editing and mixing of this album. It’s perfectly paced and sequenced. Beck knows when to push it and when to reward the listener. The easy, country vibe of “Jack-Ass,” for example, feels like a cool breeze after the chaos that comes before it. Fun, playful and insanely entertaining.

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Sat May 28 2022
5

L’essence de Beck est dans cet album. Loser sur Mellow Gold est sa meilleure pièce. Odelay est son meilleur album.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
5

It's not often a musician comes along and writes fundamentally new music that is still "listenable". The really great thing is Beck has done it more than once. There are lots of guys like Glass and Reich who break the boundaries, but their music isn't "listenable". It's studiable, if that's a word. I would literally use Reich to clear a restaurant of stragglers after closing.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

Boy I've not heard this in ages and it's great to hear it again. If anything it's better- a post-modern eclectic mixture that rolls on never staying in one place. I can understand it doesn't appeal to all tastes but it appeals to mine. Kinda grungey and laid back folky with samples and splurges and hooks that disappear off.

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Thu Jun 23 2022
5

I love this album. All of its weirdness is perfectly aligned.

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

No one is creative in quite the same way as Beck Hansen. His music is incredibly adventurous while also being very deliberately crafted. It has a loose and diverse feel stylistically, floating effortlessly through sounds and genres like colors on a painter's palette. The songs are funky and groove-full, blippy and noisy, insouciant but playful, and gleefully strange. This is an incredibly engaging and fun album to listen to. Fave songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): The New Pollution, Where It's At, Devils Haircut, Ramshackle, High 5 (Rock the Catskills), Lord Only Knows, Sissyneck, Hotwax, Readymade, Minus, Derelict, Novacane, Computer Rock

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Mon Aug 15 2022
5

An incredibly solid album, though personally a few rungs down the ladder when I want to listen to some Beck. Just great to have so many genres and styles mashed together and come out sounding so good. I need to be listening to the other 1001 albums, but I just want to listen more Beck now...

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Mon Aug 15 2022
5

That distorted screaming at the end of Devil's Haircut isn't made in anger, and it's not felt in anger. It's an expression of the joy of expression itself, and it makes you want to smile and scream along too. It's the removal of the shackles of genre. Does anyone remember the "anything but rap or country" saying? Surely this album killed it. I'll take rock in my rap in my country in my samples in my hip hop if it makes me smile like this. If you start to wonder whether he's serious, the penultimate heartfelt Ramshackle is a highlight. Capped off by the fart of Computer Rock, as if to say, I'm serious, but not *that* serious.

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Absolutely classic album of the nineties. Way ahead of his time, his sound influenced a lot of acts down the road.

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Sat Aug 20 2022
5

Discazo. Beck rompiendo todo. Estructuras dislocadas, melodías imposibles, armonías delirantes. Baterías sampleadas mezcladas con acordeones narcocorridas y guitarras saturadas de distorsión. Y una hermosa pulsión que nunca para siempre para adelante.

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

Classic that I could throw on any time

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

A refreshing return to "classic Beck"

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Fri Sep 23 2022
5

Really had fun listening to this one. So many different things going on and it all works in one big musical collage. Leaves me feeling with the anything that anything is possible in music. Some thoughts on each tune as I listen through Devils hair cut: great beat Drums sound soooo good Cool random poetic sounding lyrics “Bad” guitar solo When guitar doubles bass and distorted vocals soo cool Hot wax: more noises feedback guitar solo hooks and distorted vocals on chorus “Karaoke weekend at the suicide shack” Love the enchanted wizard of rhythm bit Jack ass- great melodic bass. sonically pleasing textures New pollution- great pop tune. I like all the retro 60’s stuff. Pretty much the same bass line as taxman :) Lord only knows: cool fake out intro Punk/ country. He’s such a great singer but can just throw away a vocal too. Derelict- cool persuasion. And droney stuff. Novacane- sick groove love the sample of the hits on the sus chord before the first verse. So many sounds on this one! This is where I realized the beauty of this album is that anything and everything fits. Not in a cheesy way but beck really beautifully uses stuff from all genres and he treats all these little genre cliches not like a schticky or exploitational way but like a painter that is using all the colors in his palette. Where it’s at- love this one! Another great bad guitar solo I like the samples on this record- I went to Whosampled.com to try and check out where everything g came from. Way cooler than anything on that David Holmes album we listened to. He gave a shoutout to Gary Wilson so I had to check him out -super weird vocals Minus- cool punky grungy. I guess this is the oddball track on an album that’s already weird all over the place Sissyneck- like the country guitars and dial-tone synths Ready made- cool bass line lots of dissonances over it. Close harmonies in the low vocals is a cool sound High five( rock the Catskills) - more super weird stuff all over the place. classical interlude in the middle Ramshackle- Charlie Haden on upright bass:) Bob Dylan vibes on verses. Cool contrast on chorus. Mostly just one chord so when they do the 2 chord it feels special. Cool contrast having a tune this static placed in this spot of the album.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
5

Pretty good, entertaining & better than I expected

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Sat Sep 24 2022
5

T3B 1. Devil’s Haircut 2. Derelict 3. Hotwax This album takes me to a great spot in life. Beck IS the enchanting wizard of rhythm. It’s a masterpiece; it’s also a 5!

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Seminal album. Arguably Beck's finest effort as it is still filled with purposeful experimentation and not the dry cynicism of some of his later stuff. Very much a snapshot of the potential of music back in `96

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

A weird album from a weird guy. Just like me.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

I expected to like this album going into it, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. I don't have much experience with Beck's music, but I'm glad to say I enjoyed this album. The music often takes unexpected turns that leave me pleasantly surprised. My favourite song was Ramshackle.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

Dude was of his time and somehow way ahead of his team, especially on this classic album. White folk lost their collective shit upon release, with good reason. This shit is so fucking good it almost makes me forget that Beck dabbled in Scientology.

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