Sea Change
Geffen/Interscope Records

First appeared on, October, 2002

Beck’s new album—hitting the streets almost three years after his last CD, Midnite Vultures—is a classic example of a long-standing pop music conundrum: should the artist make what his fans want or make what he feels. The legions of Beck-o-philes who grooved to his wacky, absurdist party tunes will likely stand in horrified shock, lip quivering, desperately clicking the remote through one morose, melancholy number after another. Listening to it back to back with Midnite Vultures, this record sounds like the somber morning after a massive blowout (and apparently Mr. Hansen has somewhat crashed and burned after the collapse of his longtime romance). Considered apart from his oeuvre, however, this is a decent batch of traditional balladry and not without some quirky touches. And hey, even the party people get blue now and then.

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