"Seachange" is different from Beck's previous album of mostly folk ballads, "Mutations". Previously, many of Beck's stylings were more self-conscious and detached. It seemed as if he was merely copying the sounds of his influences and not being entirely convincing when being heartfelt. But that changes in "Seachange". While he is known for his irony, wit, unique and actually fantastic worldview, this CD is not about that. It's about making Beck authentic when he cannot rely on his irony and humour. This can only help him as an artist. And here, the aching and yearning in his voice is real, and the songwriting and production have progressed greatly. I believe "The Golden Age" to be one of his most accomplished songs ever. And many tracks are dramatic and complex.
However, the theme throughout this CD, both musically and lyrically, is pretty much the same througout. The theme of disillusionment and the bitterness of lost love can seem depressing and monotonous, perhaps because it is convincing. Also, on some tracks, it sounds as if Beck has been listening to a lot of Nick Drake, and on these occasions he once again falls into mimicry.
But ultimately, this CD is a true coming of age for Beck. Those wanting more of his renowned diversity and shifting of styles, not to mention his absolutely unique take on the world, will have to wait. Though I see it coming in grand, spectacular fashion. In the meantime this is a certain Beck faze that is moody and mellow, but it has undoubtedly changed him permanently. Melodic and low-key, with polished production and deceptively simple instrumentation- this CD showcases one certain aspect of Beck. Though there is so much more. And that other, larger-than-life aspect of Beck, which in the past has been accused of being too clever and too insincere, gets a major dose of reality from this CD.
[I give this CD 4 stars, though I always want to give Beck 5 stars...]