When the best thing about a release is the creepy Kurt Cobain looking photograph then you have some problems.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Pretentious sonic Valium on a shiny silver disc. I never dug Beck...I do however like his work when covered by others. Morning Phase is a strange record. While genre and other abstract labels have been invented by the industry and critics in an effort to better identify artist placement, Beck is the proverbial square peg still hunting for that round hole.
Morning Phase has some harmonic splendor scattered amidst the lyrical carnage. Charlie Brown's Christmas tree just needed a little love, Morning Phase needs an exorcism. Brooding, melancholy, and overtly pretentious seems to best sum up a release that tries desperately to embrace the singer / songwriter vibe of Beck "all grown up" yet nothing ever really gets off the ground. Several songs sound almost identical and while the production is clean, tight, and contemporary the lyrics are well...forgettable. The hard core fan may appreciate this effort. New music fans will be adding to the "used" bin at their local store and soon. Why pay 18.99 for a disc you can get for less than half that? As a critic I refer to release such as these as "turd in a box." 47:01 of my life I'll never get back.
I don't dislike Beck. I dislike Beck doing Beck.
2 Stars is being kind.