My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #39

Number 39

It is my opinion that Beck is incapable of making a bad record because he is one of our true geniuses, shape-shifting enough to never tread on the same ground for a long period of time, always giving us something that has that undeniable signature of his on it. Of course, I am not declaring that everything he’s done has been a completely great success; it’s just that even his lesser releases have plenty of merit to them and are better than over half of the music world’s output. And on the reverse side of the spectrum  – when Beck is on, he’s on; and some of his best records (Midnite Vultures, Sea Change) are not only some of the most important of their generation, but essential statements in the history of music. The sonic legend hasn’t really had one of those groundbreaking albums in a few years, although the recent Guero and The Information have been acceptable additions into his catalog. Teaming with the much-lauded Danger Mouse (who had quite the year) and writing his most deeply personal lyrics since the aforementioned Sea Change, Mr. Hansen finds ways to make the many solemn moments of Modern Guilt be downright danceable, like only he could. There has been much talk that Beck might be thru with touring by the time his run on the road ends for this record, which could ultimately end up in retirement from the music world altogether for the one-of-a-kind figure; and once you really get yourself lost inside the themes of Modern Guilt, it’s easy to understand why he feels that it’s getting close to the right time to hang up the coat. If he is indeed going out now, some twenty years after his hall-of-fame-worthy career began, this would be a nice document to close with, and literally, with the most awe-inspriring tune on the record, “Volcano”, which is his absolute best single track since anything from Sea Change.

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

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