Imagine, for a second, that the same guy who wrote "Loser", dropping whack rhymes over a Doctor John slide guitar loop, who tried his hand successfully at stylistic collage, parodical hip-hop, and string-laden folk symphonies, who's output seems like an arcane library of cultural references and influences - imagine this guy tried to write an album of straight-up pop tunes. To describe the situation from the reflex angle, it might sound a bit like the Righteous Brothers if they did way too much acid and caught jungle fever (dyam!). For all its typical Beck-isms described above, the song structure and lyrical content are far less idiosyncratic than on previous releases. Is this the Beck we we know and love? Well, yes and no, the way the man still retains a connection with the boy of his former self, but has evolved into a somewhat different creature, who in turn sees the world differently. Beck's previous albums have all tried to break different ground than their predecessors, and we could generally expect the unexpected. This album is a logical and conservative distillation of his previous efforts, and it is precisely its conservativism that sets this album apart from Beck's others. But the album does not seem trite or too detatched, and while Beck retains his sincerity, some tracks are just a hell of alot of fun. Standout tracks include "Qué Onda Guero", "Hell Yes", and "Rental Car" as well as the openner "E-Pro", although don't take this one too seriously, just shake your booty cause you're gonna die one day, so you might as well enjoy a good thing while you can.
Yes, the boy gets older, he has a wife and a steady job, but he still remembers the good old days, he still likes to have a good laugh, and he can still get drunk at your wedding and dance his ass off to Kool and the Gang.