AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Beck - Sea Change Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9.5
Production 9.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 92%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8.38
Production 8.88
Creativity 7.38
Lasting Value 8.88
Reviewer Tilt 9
Average: 85%
Inside AP.net

Beck - Sea Change

Reviewed by: WarpSpeedChewy (08/23/07)
BeckSea Change
Record Label: Geffen Records
Released: September 24, 2002

Beck is an interesting musical creature. He's probably the most innovative artist of the past 20 years and the only person to have successfully combined hip-hop, soul, folk, rock, country into one coherent form. The music he makes exists outside of genres. But Sea Change is one of the few records where he focuses on more simple and sincere songwriting than the usual ironic, rhythmic lyrics he's known for. Simply put, it's more about acoustic guitar than turn tables. It's almost as if doing something normal is actually outside of the norm for the type of varied career he has. But this is the most personal record he has ever created and an albums people should look back on in years to come and recognize its brilliance. Sea Change is on that level.

Heartbreak is one of the big themes of this record. Not exactly new, but if you want to hear the musical equivalent of what a heart dragging on the ground sounds like, Sea Change comes pretty close. Beck has said the breakup with his longtime girlfriend is the major influence of the album, and the feelings of despair and sadness come through strongly on the opening song "The Golden Age." One of my personal favorite songs on Sea Change, it starts out pretty simple, but as the song moves forward it becomes a smooth breeze of haunting harmony. The song itself feels like a wolf howling at a full moon. There is a clear sense of struggle in such lyrics as, There’s distant lights / But here they’re far and few / And the sun don’t shine / Even when its day / You gotta drive all night / Just to feel like you’re okay."

"Guess I'm Doing Fine" is also a sadly beautiful song. It's a nice epilogue of how things look and feel after a heart is broken, and lyrically it's one of the best songs on Sea Change. "All the battlements are empty / And the moon is laying low / Yellow roses in the graveyard / Got no time to watch them grow." The song also has a bit of a Hank Williams feel to it. "Guess I'm Doing Fine" is classic and stands as one of Beck's best songs. Out of all of his albums, Sea Change is the best example of Beck as a songwriter. The lyrics are incredibly open, honest, and personal.

One of Sea Change's strongest points is how cohesive of an album it is. Everything fits and every song is given the right touch. That's due to the stellar work producer Nigel Godrich does on this album; both Beck and Nigel have a great partnership of craftsmanship, and it really comes through. Nick Drake's influence can be felt on "Lost Cause" by way of guitar finger-picking, as well as "Round the Bend", which is the most haunting and eerie songs on Sea Change.

Beck revisits the psychedelic atmosphere he briefly visited with Mutations on the songs "Sunday Sun" and "Little One." "Sunday Sun" is the weaker of the two but "Little One" is one of the strongest tracks of the album. It's somewhat dreamlike, and feels quietly epic. Beck's vocals contribute nicely to the quiet psychedelic atmosphere of the song, which sounds like a low-key version of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life."

One of the biggest compliments I can say about Sea Change is I have trouble finding something specific I don't like about it. The album doesn't have any big problems thanks to how well it was crafted. If anything, the second half of the album isn't as strong as the first, but it has more variety to it. At first there were songs I preferred over others but over time I saw that most of the songs were strong and there was more to like and dig into about the other songs.

Out of all of Beck's diverse albums, Sea Change stands out because of its quality, skill level, and focus on one particular form of music, with a nice balance of variety to it in all the right spots. This is one of those albums everyone should own. Beck may be brilliant in overall creativity and trying new things, but he is just as impressive with the personal quality he gives Sea Change. It's something not as different at his previous work, and I would love to see him do more of it.

Recommended if you like: Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams
 
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
11:39 PM on 08/24/07
#2
TomAce
Still Listens To Limbeck
Offline
User Info.
TomAce's Avatar
this album is absolutely incredible and I'm so happy that someone else on this site appreciates it to the same degree as i do. Failed to mention Paper Tiger tho, which I think is the best song he's ever written. It's so moody and perfect.
12:11 AM on 08/25/07
#3
quiksilver21k
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
quiksilver21k's Avatar
Perfect album...I can listen to this album on rainy days, Sundays, or any day that I am feeling a little less "rockin" than the others.
12:34 AM on 08/25/07
#4
RonMexico
bitte orca
Offline
User Info.
RonMexico's Avatar
This is a great album, but the ranking is much too high. It puts itself into a ditch and never really digs itself out. Though I feel like that's what Beck was going for, it does little for listener. It hits a range and never leaves it. It's a great work, but not a 92.
02:26 AM on 08/25/07
#5
fluke182
Burning bicycles for revenge
Offline
User Info.
fluke182's Avatar
Comic thread represent! Great review man, underrated album.
11:57 AM on 08/25/07
#6
ListenToIt
Failure
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
It stands out because it's the most [only?] really straightforward thing he's done. But by no means is this made for casual/in the car/at the party/chilling with your friends listening. If you're in the mood for it, it's absolutely perfect, but it really sucks being in the mood for it, you know?
04:21 PM on 08/25/07
#7
WarpSpeedChewy
You know Elvis had a twin brother?
Offline
User Info.
WarpSpeedChewy's Avatar
this album is absolutely incredible and I'm so happy that someone else on this site appreciates it to the same degree as i do. Failed to mention Paper Tiger tho, which I think is the best song he's ever written. It's so moody and perfect.
Same here. Sea Change is one of my favorite albums of all time and quite possibly my favorite Beck album. I thought it deserved some more recognition. I know I didn't mention Paper Tiger but I didn't want to go through all of the songs. I did talk about "End of the Day" but it was edited out after the final version of the review left my hands.

This is a great album, but the ranking is much too high. It puts itself into a ditch and never really digs itself out. Though I feel like that's what Beck was going for, it does little for listener. It hits a range and never leaves it. It's a great work, but not a 92.
I don't think it digs itself into a ditch. The strength and quality of the songs was more than enough to keep my interest. For what Beck was going for, I think he did a close to perfect job.

Comic thread represent! Great review man, underrated album.
Word. I'm glad you and everyone else liked the review.
08:33 PM on 10/20/07
#8
Frankie_Nyght
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
Frankie_Nyght's Avatar
It's funny you say this record is more about acoustic guitar than turntables which it is, but that's what he brought up on, check out his first two record, Sterophonic Soul Manure and One Foot In The Grave, it's more Mississippi John Hurt influnced and even bluegrass at points with songs like, He's a Mighty Good Leader on One Foot in the Grave and the Hillarious Satan Gave Me A Taco on Sterophonic Soul Manure, I would have to disagree with you however when you say "almost as if doing something normal is actually outside of the norm for the type of varied career he has" becuase no only are his first two records (that I mentioned above) acoustically driven, also more than half of Mellow Gold is Acoustically Driven as well, not to mention very much underated 1999's Mutations which has the track Bottle of Blues which was originally written for Johnny Cash, but Mr. Beck felt it wasn't good enough for the Man in Black. Not only was this the perfect time for this kind of record in Beck's career, given his break up with his long time girlfriend influenced the record lyrically, but he also relaized that he was become predicatable with Midnight Vultures, with songs like Sex Laws & Debra, So for true blue Beck fans this album was completly predictable, this was the record that we all knew that Beck was born to make. I will say kudos on the Hank Williams comparsions, not many people pick up on that.
11:45 AM on 10/29/07
#9
WarpSpeedChewy
You know Elvis had a twin brother?
Offline
User Info.
WarpSpeedChewy's Avatar
I would have to disagree with you however when you say "almost as if doing something normal is actually outside of the norm for the type of varied career he has" becuase no only are his first two records (that I mentioned above) acoustically driven, also more than half of Mellow Gold is Acoustically Driven as well, not to mention very much underated 1999's Mutations which has the track Bottle of Blues which was originally written for Johnny Cash, but Mr. Beck felt it wasn't good enough for the Man in Black.
Well when you look at his career overall he's done more things in the hip hop/electronic/funk range than acoustic so that what I meant by that comparison. But you are right.
01:31 AM on 10/10/08
mattph44
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
great album beck never dissapoints, i really enjoyed modern guilt
01:55 AM on 08/25/11
and1234z
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Fucking amazing. Everything.
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm