The Information CD+DVD
|Price:||CDN$ 25.33 & FREE Shipping. Details|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Elevator Music|
|2. Think I'm In Love|
|3. Cellphone's Dead|
|4. Strange Apparition|
|5. Soldier Jane|
|7. New Round|
|8. Dark Star|
|9. We Dance Alone|
|10. No Complaints|
|11. 1000 BPM|
|13. The Information|
|14. Movie Theme|
|15. The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide Exoskeleton|
Three years in the making, The Information is the album Beck began work on in 2003 with producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead's OK Computer, Kid A; Beck's Sea Change, Mutations) and finally completed this year once Guero's massive success and encore touring engagements, as well as Nigel's other commitments, were fulfilled. The Information is comprised of 15 songs and a DVD featuring homemade videos for each of the 15 songs shot in-studio during the actual sessions. The artwork for The Information is either non-existent or infinite, depending on one's point of view. Each copy will come in a blank package with one of four collectible sticker sheets specially designed by European and American artists and representative of the unique Beck aesthetic. The stickers will give every Beck fan the opportunity to participate in the creative process by designing his or her own one of a kind CD cover.
On The Information, Beck Hansen is seriously bummed out. Not that he sounds it as much as he did on 2002's laconic, Fred Neil-worshipping Sea Change. Technology and stuff, and the way it gets in the way of human interaction, is the subtext if not the full-on concept at play here. Recorded with art-rock anal-retentive Nigel Goodrich at the helm, work began on this album not long after Sea Change but was shelved for a few years while Mr. Hansen made 2005's Guero with the Dust Brothers. Unsurprisingly, it sounds a bit like both of those. The trappings of minimalist pop, fuzzy folk, click-hop, hip-hop, baroque psychedelia, and funky pop are to be found on this endearing release. Like Jean Cocteau or David Bowie, Beck is an artistic chameleon whose greatest gift is knowing which artists to borrow from, and when. The cover artwork consists of stickers that you can arrange however you like, which perhaps appeals too much to your own nostalgic/retro, "Trapper Keeper" sensibilities. And yet, it's kind of awesome, something you can't believe has never been done before. Much like the album it adorns. --Mike McGonigal
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Top Customer Reviews
The stickers are a cute idea, I like the lo-fi videos, but the music is a little tired.
If you like Beck you will like this album - but you probably won't LOVE it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In that respect, THE INFORMATION has less mind-blowing variety than many of his previous efforts, but it's loaded with plenty of great rhythms and beats as can be expected from Beck. There's lots of super-catchy hooks and many of the songs are as good as any he's ever written. Also typical of Beck, there's a lot of sounds and "sub-melodies" guaranteed to keep the listener intrigued for many a listen. Beck raps all over this album. He's kind of in a rap world of his own - he plays by his own rules. On THE INFORMATION, he moves beyond the white boy self parody bit to rap about anything he wants.
Of particular note is the trippy extended final track that morphs repeatedly and reaches a spacey, almost epic peak at the chorus. But it does peter out towards the end, digressing into some spoken word nonsense that can get boring on repeated listens (as spoken word typically does when added to music). That's OK - as I often do, I've made my own copy of this album and I just shaved off the end of that song in a particular place that appealed to me. Considering the interactive direction Beck seems to be headed in, I suspect he would approve.
The extra DVD contains the entire album with amusing video shennanigans from Beck and assorted friends. It's fun to have on at a party!
As ever, Beck is still an extremely creative musician. THE INFORMATION is further proof and a most worthy addition to any music collection.
Now I still love the guy, but I was slightly apprehensive when I heard his new album was coming so shortly after the last. But my worries were laid to rest upon first listen. This album is everything I've come to love about Beck. It's manages to bring together the atmospherics and songwriting of Mutations and Sea Change and pull them together with the kind of experimental electronica and toe-tapping beats pioneered on Odelay, and in so doing creates a completely new sound that should satisfy fans on both sides.
The album begins suitable with the languid and distant hip hop of Elevator Music. This sets the tone for the album perfectly. This album is layered, and funky, but never high energy. It's the other end of the spectrum from Midnite Vultures with an aloof sounding Beck rhyming over some echoey, eerie, and atmospheric beats. Choirs and cello strings regularly accompany the synthesizers and turntables. Beck evokes a similar funk ennui in Cell Phone's Dead and We Dance Alone, both very strong tracks.
There are pop moments as well, though. Beck puts his freestyle flow aside for the second track, Think I'm In Love, which could be the follow up to last year's Girl. It has an infectious chorus backed by bubbly ivory tickling, and a cello-backed bridge that cements the tracks as pop gold. He follows it up with the even more upbeat Strange Apparition, which evokes shades of Fatboy Slim's Praise You.
The album does sag a bit at the end of the disc. Motorcades tinny racket falls to connect, and the synth cheese of Movie Theme proves too overbearimg. The disc closes with a 10-minute medley of 3 songs, the middle of which is worth listening too and the ending of which comes off as either vapid pot talk or Scientologist proselytizing, I'm not sure which.
But the bottom line is abundantly clear: This is Beck's strongest album in many years, and a far better heir to Odelay than the trying-too-hard Guero. It manages to be a step forward for the artist, while still playing to his strong suits. The production is slick, everything about it is quintessentially Beck, and it doesn't sound like anything else out there. We have a winner.
I love everything about "The Information," both the CD and the DVD. There's plenty to dance to here, lots of tunes to sing along with, and some much more laid-back fare. In fact, the tail end of the disk becomes a tad more somber and uneven, but the music still kills. "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" reveals itself as murkier music for the diehards at 2 a.m. and counting. Still, it's great stuff until everything dissolves into a mesh of ethereal synth and a few incomprehensible voices meant to confuse; bizarre, to be sure, but also a fitting end to an album so rich in musical depth.
This masterful CD is littered with cool hip-hop dance tracks like "Elevator Music, "1000BPM" and "Nausea," which sit next to songs that mingle hip-hop and pop-rock such as "Think I'm in Love" and "No Complaints," two playful-sounding tunes that make not liking Beck's music impossible. "Strange Apparition" has a lively country-western sound, complete with jumping piano and a suitably weird video to match. Everything on this album is smooth and instantly catchy, often danceable. The dance tracks have that big bass thump, a crisp beat and snappy drums that could get anybody moving. There are also sublime songs like "Soldier Jane" that ooze atmosphere and manage transcendence. Along those lines, "Movie Theme" is an especially moving track, perhaps the best on the album. It has a buzzing, slow-synth groove that is infectious but a little sad. The video is nothing but an electric green haze of Beck's staid face shown in a row, as if a synthetic, twisted cloning went severely bad but left us great music. His voice on the track is hardly above a murmur, making the words barely audible. When he sighs toward the end of the song, you want to sigh along with him, and maybe even shed a tear or two.
Beck's droning voice belies the exciting array of noises that are par for the course within his well-rounded music. And his demeanor onscreen is no less understated than his endearing vocals. The DVD portion of "The Information" is chock-full of colorful low-fi videos (often with smooshy coloring and purposely grainy quality) that feature the calm Beck as the ever-present focus, amid a blur of bizarre men and women of all ethnicities performing a myriad of activities in odd clothing. Few bodily movements are spared in these videos: Kung Fu guys, little girls dancing, bears playing the drums, cars driving by, women exercising, jousting, costumes galore, retro graphics that flash incessantly -- you name it, every type of music-video chic is covered. Beck's sound might be modern, but his video aesthetic is pure retro, from slick 1970s suits, to "keytars," to boom boxes that his minion musicians cradle in their arms. So in a way, Beck pushes boundaries in an equally forward-thinking and nostalgic manner. There's no real theme to his videos, except to behave beautifully free and act weird once "Action!" is shouted. Sometimes people just stand around looking bored, which is cool too. Everything looks like it was filmed in the same house. Beck often has a bored, dazed look about him, but after hearing this CD and seeing his videos, you realize the guy is completely in control of what he's doing. How cool is it that the diverse songs on "The Information" also get a varied set of accompanying videos?
"Elevator Music" - very danceable tune, should have been the 1st single.
"Soldier Jane" - constant head bobbing, (important for me after Guerolito) definitely has some psychedelic qualities; I like the synths here.
"Dark Star" - I have never done acid, but the media has convinced me it must be something like this. Cool song and by far the best video on the DVD. It is as if Stanley Kubrick directed the video laced to early 80s underground beats. One person commented that Beck resembles Willy Wonka a bit here.
"We Dance Alone" - I just added this one because it caught on with me after a while. This is probably a song that showcases Beck's eclecticism more than any other, many different things going on here.
"No complaints" - Very catchy; one of the most stripped down tracks on the album, perfect for the MP3 player, walking outside. Great lyrics.
"The Information" - The title track has a hard bass beat and is solid overall.
The last song is a montage of a couple different tracks, focusing on change. This album was marketed different from the others; Beck is telling us the music is changing. Example: I went out and bought it rather than downloading this . . . Why?
Partly because of the DVD that comes with the album, partly the releases on myspace. Brilliant marketing focusing more on the album as a package. And I'm still split on rating it vs. Guero. Even though there were some tracks I could do without, (e.g. - Motorcade) when rating this album you have to keep in mind that Beck made a video for every song. Has anyone done that before??? And then NOT charge us a lot for it? At well under $15 here, this is a bargain for an album with 15 tracks and 15 videos on DVD.
I could go on about the stickers, but I won't. Beck has attempted something different and I liked it, hope you do too. Let's watch if the rest of the music industry follows suit.