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Modern Guilt

Beck Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.46 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


1. Orphans
2. Gamma Ray
3. Chemtrails
4. Modern Guilt
5. Youthless
6. Walls
7. Replica
8. Soul of A Man
9. Profanity Prayers
10. Volcano

Product Description

Product Description

Modern Guilt is the tenth studio album by musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Beck. Modern Guilt features two contributions by Cat Power and co-produced by Danger Mouse. The hit track 'Chemtrails' is a genre-bending tour de force that showcases Beck and producer Danger Mouse's shared affection for late '60s Psych-Pop. The album releases on July 8, 2008, his 38th birthday.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By richnew
Format:Audio CD
I don't think that I can be terribly articulate about this or explain the reasons this album resonated with me so strongly. I think it is just the sheer quality of the material and mastery of the artist.

I apologize in advance if the vagueness of this review is not terribly helpful. But, I must say that as a musicholic, it is very rare for me to react in so strongly a fashion upon first listen. I encourage you to listen to the bits and pieces you can find online to see for yourself. The hooks, vocals, tunes and melodies have totally grabbed me. I can't remember the last time that I felt that I was hearing something brilliant after listening one time. I'm on my second listen right now and it not only holds up, I'm increasingly impressed by what I dare call a masterpiece (ok, let's say amazingly good, mature, and fully realized album). But, Beck is now the artist on my "most want to follow" list after this pretty remarkable release.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 July 26 2008
Format:Audio CD
On his tour behind 2006's The Information, Beck and his band were accompanied by a troupe of marionette doppelgängers. Projected onto a big screen, the dot-eyed puppets mimicked the group with uncanny accuracy; if Beck triumphantly raised his hand during "Devil's Haircut", his counterpart quickly followed. As the distance between concert DVDs and concerts themselves continues to dwindle, the puppet scheme was a winning example of spontaneous, analog cleverness. It was also a crafty bit of outsourcing. The cute figurines provided much of the night's visual entertainment while offering a distraction from Beck's increasingly uninvolved performances. Since the famed stops on his Odelay tour more than a decade ago, he's become a static shell of his former break-dancing, bed-humping self. Similarly, while Beck has gotten darker and more apocalyptic, he's tried to temper his direness with upbeat, counter-punch production from the Dust Brothers, Nigel Godrich, and now, Danger Mouse. Though Modern Guilt is more direct and consistent than his last two scattershot LPs, it also finds the disillusioned L.A. hippie struggling to balance his deathly outlook with his more crowd-pleasing inclinations.

It wasn't always like this. At his creative peak Beck tackled everything from R&B to hip-hop to folk, and more often than not, his songs' sentiments matched their styles. On a base level, Sea Change was full of downtrodden couplets matched with picturesque melancholia; the falsetto zaniness of Midnite Vultures corresponded with its equally bizarre and hilarious imagery. And while there were plenty of serious specters like ghosts and devils all over Odelay, they were used to symbolize the invincibility of youth while the album's pastiche funk kept the post-modern party alive.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  121 reviews
67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Outing July 8 2008
By Brandon J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Beck has done something that very, very few artists have ever been able to do: He's transitioned from young phenom genius innovator to established professional, without sacrificing artistically or compromising his craft. In my opinion, Beck has two masterpieces. First was Odelay. It built off the out-of-nowhere, wonderful Mellow Gold to hone his skills into something really amazing. Second was Sea Change. This was a high-water mark in Beck's brilliance in melding lyrics, melody, and soundscape. I never thought Beck could top Mellow Gold and Odelay, but Sea Change became my favorite Beck album and remains so to this day.

Since then, he's released some very interesting albums. The Information, in particular, has grown on me, revealing more and more as time goes on. It's a great album to revisit, sprawling as it may be.

Summer of 2008 sees the release of Modern Guilt, and, like Guero and The Information, it's got all you'd expect from Beck: cool beats, interesting lyrics, marble-mouthed singing, wide variations in rhythm, and immaculate production. Perhaps I could criticize it for not being as mind-blowing as Odelay and Sea Change, or for not being as totally zany as Midnight Vultures. But would it not be better to hear it for what it is and appreciate the way Beck has created his most focused album in years?

I love the way this simultaneously sounds like a Beck album, yet resists comparison with any one of his discs. It fits into Beck's catalog as another strong entry, another variation on the themes he's been exploring for years. Though it does not defy expectations, it certainly lives up to them.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quirky and Addictive Slap in The Soul July 8 2008
By DaBrandoChipper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
2008 has been a prolific year for releases from major artists (REM, Counting Crows, The Black Crowes, Colplay, Alanis Morrisette, Lil Wayne, etc etc). Most of these releases have been worthy of praise, but I have found a few flaws in all of them. Call me an idiot, but I cant find any flaws in Beck's new release, Modern Guilt, although I am sure some reviewers are itching to point some flaws out to me.

As Beck gets closer to 40, his songwriting has matured. He seems to use fewer samples than he used to. He still wears his influences on his sleeve, but his personality is all over the music. His collaboration with Danger Mouse worked well. The "beats" are paced well enough to make the entire album easy to enjoy in one listen, but you will want to listen again as soon as you're done.

Becks lyrics have always been quirky and obtuse, and this album is no exception. But this time the imagery seems thicker and more foreboding. The bodies drowning in the moody and ethereal "Chemtrails" are certainly morose and some may think Beck a bit paranoid, but he may be justified. The crunchy, guitar driven "Profanity Prayers" could be the highlight of the album and is my personal favorite. "Who's gonna answer profanity prayers" is quite a slap in the face of modern man. Our calls to a higher power have become nothing more than four letter words. Beck addresses a higher power at several points and he certainly makes more sense than the hair sprayed con men on TV.

Beck has proven here that middle age doesnt dull creativity. The songs Ive mentioned above along with the bass heavy "Orphans", "Gamma Ray" and "Youthless" easily rank along with some his best songs. (I know this sounds weird...but I can picture Austin Powers doing his "shag dance" to "Gamma Ray"). Some of the songs are experiments, such as the slightly eccentric "Replica", but the experiments work. You may need to listen more than once, but none of the songs are filler. Every song has something to offer and seems as if it will offer even more the next time you listen.

If Beck isnt nominated for at least Alternative Album of the Year, the academy of music and recorded arts is a bunch of idiots.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beck evolves on newest album to create 'Modern' masterpiece Aug. 15 2008
By Dustin Perry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Musical chameleon Beck released his latest album, "Modern Guilt," on his 38th birthday and the songs found therein display an artist far removed from the 23-year-old Los Angeles slacker who was telling us he was 'un perdedor' on "Mellow Gold," his 1994 breakthrough release. This disc finds Mr. Hansen truly exploring the heavy themes of death and personal reflection for the first time, and the results are nothing short of stellar. Middle age, it seems, has its benefits.

Beck tried this feat, the "serious record," two years ago on 2006's "The Information," but the message was pretty much lost to critics and fans, who thought the filtered-through-a-ColecoVision beats and lyrics about cellular phones were more post-apocalyptic and self-referential than anything else. He gets straight to the point this time around, with 10 concise tracks, a 34-minute runtime and not an ounce of leftover ideas to clutter the proceedings.

To the delight of fans the world over, Beck enlisted Danger Mouse (Brian Burton), the reigning critical darling of the music-production world, to man the boards on "Modern Guilt." They make an excellent team, what with their shared taste for `60s psychedelic rock, twitchy percussion and looped string samples -- not to mention their impeccable ear for catchy riffs. The surf-rock bass line that serves as the backbone for "Gamma Ray" makes it the closest approximation to a pop song Beck has written in years.

Perhaps tired of hearing that his last two records were trying too hard to be "Odelay 2.0," Beck has dialed back his use of left-field audio samples and bits of obscure and forgotten songs from decades past, choosing instead to interpret those influences and recreate them as fairly straightforward rock tunes. People seem to forget that, if you ignore the space-cowboy production flourishes that saturate every last inch of Beck's late-`90s output, he was -- and still is -- one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the last 25 years.

Of course, it wouldn't be a true Beck album if he didn't make room in his lyrics for a full notebook's worth of wacky one-liners and vaguely interpretable philosophical musings. The churning "Soul of a Man" finds our hero spitting out non sequiturs as if he made them up a few seconds before walking into the recording booth. "Beat my bones against the wall/Put a bank note on your bond/Gris-gris and a goldenrod/Deep down in a hollow log," goes one verse, the words apparently chosen for no reason other than to meet the song's syllabic needs.

"Chemtrails," the slow and dreamy lead single, addresses the urban legend that the vapor trails from commercial airliners contain chemicals that, once they fall to Earth and are inhaled by an unaware populace, allow the government to control us. (Sample lyric: "You and me hit by a test of white evil/Watching the jet planes go by") Now, that may just be the Scientology talking, but the fact remains that "Chemtrails" is one of the most beautifully composed Beck ballads in recent memory.

Prior to the release of "Modern Guilt," there was a lot of excited chatter over the news that soul singer Cat Power (Chan Marshall) would be making a cameo appearance on two of the album's tracks, "Orphans" and "Walls," but her contributions are so incidental (and not to mention barely audible) that I think mentioning them four-fifths of the way through my review will suffice.

The most notable aspect of "Modern Guilt," in my opinion, is that it is the first Beck album since 1999's "Midnite Vultures" to not have a single clunker on it. Perhaps they were crafted that way, to get in and out in less than four minutes each and leave you wanting more. And there's no guilt in that, modern or otherwise.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Guilt July 9 2008
By Andrew Vice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
On his latest LP, Beck is carrying a lot of modern guilt, and he's not afraid to share it with anyone who will listen. Modern Guilt is another record in a long line of very solid (and occasionally extraordinary) work from Beck, who yet again befuddles listeners with his intricate and erratic wordplay, and even more obtuse arrangements and musical stylings. Despite Beck's deathly focus on the state of the world (including thoughts on war, the environment, and the challenges of trying to do something about them,) the album manages to maintain a distinctive musical focus while exercising creativity and a welcome precision.

Unlike Beck's previous two records, Modern Guilt isn't an oddball amalgamation of various styles and sounds, but again is a more focused take on folk heavily infused with psychedelic rock sounds. Track by track, the album tells the tale of the world's woes through old-school folk arrangements heavily augmented by the beat-shaping powers of Danger Mouse. Musically, the album is a cross between two of Beck's best works, Mutations and Sea Change. The record takes the dark, brooding folk sounds of Sea Change and adds a layer of depth and unexpected flourish in the vein of Mutations, which was one hell of a random album.

Essentially, this is a Beck album specifically targeted for Beck fans, and especially fans of his more singer-songwriter efforts. However, Modern Guilt has a kind of mainstream appeal that will likely earn success on the charts while maintaining the kind of artistic credibility that Beck has always been known for.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beck goes all psychedelic!!! July 8 2008
By Nse Ette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
On "Modern Guilt", the 10th album of Beck's career, he teams up with wunderkind Danger Mouse and the result is sixties sounding psychedelia, akin to the Beach Boys, or more recently, Panda Bear (but more structured).

The 10 brief cuts on this CD are dreamy and melodic with layered harmonies and chiming guitars, opening cut the sublime "Orphans" being a fine example.
More upbeat is "Gamma ray", while the dreamy Beach Boys-esque "Chemtrails" is blissful.

Title track "Modern guilt" is a chugging pop/rocker, and "Youthless" has a groovy bassline. Other songs are the brief and eerie "Walls" with clattering beats, the chiming "Replica" with skittery beats, the buzzing and chugging Blues-like "Soul of a man", the fuzzy, bouncy "Profanity prayers", and closing is the dreamy ballad "Volcano".

"Modern guilt" comprises 10 tightly woven songs which take a look at the state of the world and what can be done about it. It does take quite a few spins to get into it, but once you do, you'll be away on a psychedelic ride.
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