Beck is one of those figures present in pop music that people seem to underestimate. His music always delivers some of the most creative and powerful atmospheres, yet he seems to only pop up in the spotlight every now and then. His importance cannot be understated, and that can be supported by his music. Beck created the perfect atmosphere in 2002’s Sea Changes, a calm yet honest record that shows his artistry.
There’s a lot o subtlety to Beck’s dynamic, and that’s easy to miss on Sea Changes. The record begins with ‘The Golden Age,’ a warm and cheerful track that invites you to the rest of the album. The calmer yet still undoubtedly homely ‘Paper Tiger‘ follows it, showing that this record isn’t all about a single mood. ‘Guess I’m Doing Fine‘ bridges two decades together as Beck sings like Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland did while still providing a sweetness to the slow, alternative track. Pretty tracks like ‘End Of The Day‘ capture their atmospheres perfectly and eloquently; the same is true for ‘Round The Bend,‘ which brings this “happily lost at sea” sort of vibe.
Despite it’s definite warmth, Sea Changes is a sort of sad album. For a lot of the record, it seems like Beck is recollecting bittersweetly on better times, or where he wishes he was at now. ‘Lost Cause‘ is a very sad track, though its warmer indie subtleties would say otherwise. The chorus cries like a lonely cowboy: “There's too many people you used to know / They see you coming they see you go / They know your secrets and you know theirs / This town is crazy, nobody cares“ as Beck sadly remembers his past. ‘Lonesome Tears‘ helps achieve some of the same vibe, its somber but calming nature almost reassuring itself. The record ends with a bit more optimism for the future, great melodies in ‘Already Dead‘ and the brightness in ‘Sunday Sun‘ bringing back some sweetness. Spiraling epic ‘Little One‘ brings a huge orchestral climax to the record before closing track ‘Side Of The Road‘ brings the record to a chill end, ready for what’s next.
Beck created the perfect atmosphere in 2002’s Sea Changes, drawing a bittersweet picture of that moment in time for him. It’s tragic but optimistic - a hard dynamic to really bring to life like he did. Album’s like this show that his underdog status is not to be forgotten, and furthermore should be even more appreciated than it already is.
Favorite Tracks: End Of The Day, The Golden Age, Lonesome Tears
Least Favorite Track: Already Dead
Rating: 83 / 100
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