Artist Spotlight: Beck

By Louie Wieseman
Social media was buzzing with one question after the 2015 Grammys: Who in the world is Beck?
        Beck is an artist who spans across many different genres. He has released 12 albums since 1993 and achieved his first big breakthrough in 1994 with his hit “Loser.” Before he released the song, he was a run down artist. After some initial radio air time on college radio stations, his popularity grew and eventually recorded Mellow Gold in 1994 to much critical acclaim and commercial success.
        Soon, Beck felt as if “Loser” became too popular, similar to how Radiohead’s “Creep” eventually bothered them for being known for one song. To fight this, Beck looked to a larger mix of genres to createOdelay, released in 1996. He enjoyed making the music, while fitting his image and messing with critics. Odelay was also met with critical acclaim.
Beck wanted a fun album that he could play again and again on tour.
After a short break, he was anxious to get into the studio and record. Recording an album in just fourteen days, Beck wanted to capture the ‘live’ feel. It was released in late 1998 and won a Grammy for Best Alternative Rock Performance. Midnight Vultures focused on mixing together rock and R&B. Beck created it to be a fun album that he would enjoy playing again and again on tour.
2000 to 2003 was a huge shift for Beck. He broke up with his fiancée and was often alone. This loneliness went into his album Sea Changes. His lyrical style changed along with his sincerity of the overall tone. Sea Changes was featured on many ‘best of’ lists of the decade and of all time.
In 2005, Beck’s eighth album Guero was released with more commercial success than his other albums. “E-Pro” was one of the first songs since “Loser” to achieve large commercial success. He worked on his ninth album, The Information, which was released in 2006.
        In 2007, Beck partnered with Danger Mouse to produce his album Modern Guilt, which was released in 2008. Beck focused on his label, created songs for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and collaborated with various artists.
There was a 6 year gap between Modern Guilt and his 2014 release Morning Phase. On this album, Beck partnered with many musicians he worked with on past albums. This definitely paid off, since it snagged Best Engineered Album (non classical), Best Rock Album, and even Album of the Year. This surprised and angered many younger fans who didn’t seem to know Beck.
Not many future plans are known for Beck. He has hit a new high with the Grammy wins and will headline the Band Camp Music Festival.