Beck Midnite Vultures

Beck Midnite Vultures
Photo: Tim Snow
Mmm, smells like cocaine. That and other images from Bright Lights Big City, Liquid Sky or any other ’80s tale of decadence spring to mind when wading through the synth wiggle and pomo-a-gogo of Midnite Vultures. It all makes you want to wear tight designer jeans and excessive make-up, hop in a limo dripping with champagne and cruise the streets of NYC until the break of dawn mixing "business with leather” (a play on words Beck uses twice on this album). It is either pathetic, exhilarating or just plain silly fun — it’s hard to tell, but it’s undeniably entertaining. Just like Purple Rain (the movie). Electro-funk is the name of Beck’s game this time out and it suits him just as well as that Nudie he had on last time out. His lobotomy-beats sounds like Pizzicato Five paying homage to Cameo, but there’s also plenty of Prince, circa Controversy. There is plenty of forced falsetto here, sometimes sounding sweet as honey ("Nicotine and Gravy”), otherwise providing an unsettling visual picture of the artist grasping his testicles in pain ("Peaches & Cream”). Lyrically, a few tender moments escape amidst the free flow: "I’ll feed you fruit that doesn’t exist/ I’ll write graffiti where you’ve never been kissed.” So call all the boys with bulletproof vests and the girls with cellophane chests and rock the tunes that make all the b-boys and lesbians scream. "I want to know if I’m worth your time/ There’s so much to do before we die.” Agreed. This is a party like it’s 1999. (Geffen)