We can’t quite pinpoint why, but something about Beck‘s post-Sea Change output has failed to thrill us beyond a couple of stray singles (“Think I’m In Love,” “Girl”) and Guerolito remixes (the Dust Brothers‘ spring-loaded spin on “Rental Car” kinda rules). Come to think of it, our reason for thinking Beck’s become a true loser is simple: the break-dancing, falsetto-flexing court jester behind such shiny, happy jams as “Sexx Laws” and “The New Pollution” stopped being fun and started getting real. And by real, we mean as serious as a graduate professor teaching a course about globalization and how we’re essentially killing ourselves. While speaking his mind may sound more relevant in these dark days than white boy rhymes about Cheez Wiz and plastic eyeballs, we beg to differ. Beck, you are here to entertain us, not to make us feel worse.
Hurray, hurrah, then, for the blatant reboot of Beck’s image via a streamlined Web site and meme-driven marketing in the past couple weeks. Apparently not content with covering classic albums and unleashing epic DJ mixes, Monsieur Hansen has turned to an Interview-esque ongoing conversation with Tom Waits. An excerpt…
BH: Also this obsession with ranking. All the “Best of” lists. I get asked to write “Best of” lists occasionally. An emphasis on ranking things. Having a hierarchy and having it be written in granite, written in stone.
TW: It’s economic. So you can charge more.
BH: Yeah, it must be. But maybe it’s just a need to have some order that’s been established, and that everybody has been notified. I don’t know.
TW: There’s too much of everything.
BH: Maybe it’s a millennial thing. It started around the millennium. “What are the best movies? What are the best songs?”
TW: Well, then there’s the pressure of feeling that you need to have what has been already rated the best. A lot of people are afraid to explore their own peculiar taste for fear – that it would be uncool. Just like when you’re a teenager you don’t want to be caught with the wrong sports shirt, the wrong socks.
BH: I think there’s a bit of that. Certain things haven’t made it to the “List,” so then they go into the category of guilty pleasure or something.
TW: My theory is that the innovators are the ones that open the door to things, and then behind them there’s a huge crowd and they are trampled by the crowd behind them. And then you have to peel the innovators off the ground like in the movie, The Mask. Like a Colorform.
You can read the rest of Beck’s “Irrelevant Topics” Q&A here.