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Sea Change: 9/10 (10 on a good day) Or maybe this might his boldest statement - at least without Morning Phase as a companion record. Sea Change is everything that Mutations promised he could deliver, and then some. Sea Change isn't musically ambitious or weird, it's not lyrically abstract or out there. It's a stark look into the void, the emptiness which is left after you've had your heart ripped out. My personal favourite, Round the Bend, is like a latenight fever dream brought on by memories of relationships past, it feels vaguely psychedelic with its walls of reverb-laden strings and Beck's mumbled vocals.This is the record Beck realised he needed to change, needed to grow up and make some real mature music, not just for us, but for himself.
Guero: 6/10 I can't even deny that while it's severly lacking in comparison to other Beck records, this is still an enjoyable listen. It's fun, it's catchy and there's a lot of good energy without sounding like a step back. He brought a lot of the melancholy and mature sounds which he explored on Sea Change into this The record starts out pretty average, and meanders near the end as well (both Scarecrow and Go It Alone are far too long), but around the middle, there are some really stand out tracks. Missing takes that melancholia and reinterprets it to fit poppier style of the record. As well as Earthquake Weather, which has darker lyrics and feels more out there, but it's grounded by a solid hook.Overall, his attempt to go back and make pop music with the same irreverence he once had failed, but there were a few interesting experiments nonetheless. Good, but not great.
The Information: 7/10 This kind of has the same problem that Guero does. I think it may be stronger overall, but that's only because instead of the really great songs being in one chunk, they're spread across the entire record. The opener, Elevator Music, is one of Beck's best openers. Cellphone's Dead is one of the more imaginative songs of his, production wise at least. The way it starts with the rapping over the Herbie Hancock sample, and then morphs into that weird psychedelic dance section at the end.Near the middle of the record we get New Round, which feel like a throwback to his Sea Change days, a sincere and very subtle track in its delivery. The use of a acoustic guitar arpeggio over a quiet break beat, and how Beck's vocals are overlapping each other creates a serene and beautiful environment.Apparently Beck was trying to make a hip hop record, despite this it feels lacking in that concept, or any sort of a concept or overarching theme whatsoever. I feel that there's a lot to love here, but the record is overly long and the only thing that holds these songs together is Nigel Godrich's spacey production.Outside of that, it just feels like a bunch of songs, some good, some not so good.