Beck, Guero

Beck's latest album, Guero, is easily comparable to his influential 1996 release Odelay; not only is it produced by the Dust Brothers, but it's comprised of fierce guitars, cut-and-spliced beats, and delightful off kilter hip-hop rhymes. Opening track "E-Pro" will instantly recall Beck's grunge past ("Devil's Haircut") — but beyond that "E-Pro" is a perfect radio single, complete with a"'Na Na Na" chorus. Other highlights include the humorous "Que Onda Guero," the for-sure next single "Girl," and the menacing "Black Tambourine." All are catchy as hell and (of course) are very eccentric. But mid-way through Guero, Beck takes a turn down a dirty back road and comes up with some of his most cynical,but enjoyable songs yet. The bluesy, nightmarish "Scarecrow" is set to electric guitar noise and keyboard bleeps that mimic wind, while the dead man bop "Go It Alone" is a finger-snapping chant. Besides the music, Beck's vocal delivery just doesn't seem to be up to par, he strolls his way through most the songs, sounding despondent and uninterested. Guero may rehashe some of Beck's earlier work, but its true greatness lies in its dark melodies. (Interscope) Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Stars

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