Beck Morning Phase

Beck Morning Phase
In the lead-up to Morning Phase, the album has been touted in the press as a return to the style of Beck's exquisitely bummed out 2002 album Sea Change, but that's only half true.

Yes, the two records bear many sonic similarities, with both pairing slow-paced acoustic ballads with lush, gorgeous orchestrations. But while the earlier LP was harrowing in its soul-searching melancholia, Morning Phase is warm and soothing, its tone coming across as beautifully bittersweet rather than overtly depressing. On "Heart Is a Drum," potentially gloomy lines about "beating me down" are lightened by the airy melody and cozy folk groove, and when Beck sings about the "silent asylum" of loneliness on "Blue Moon," it resembles a cautionary tale rather than anything born out of desperation.

The mood changes on "Wave," on which he croons over an unaccompanied string section, making for the album's most chilling moment. Even here, however, there's a glimmer of hope, as he advises himself, "If I surrender/ And I don't fight this wave/ I won't go under/ I'll only be carried away." This is evidence of an older, wiser Beck: he's learned to cope with his troubles, rather than be drowned by them.

Read an interview with Beck here. (Capitol/Fonograf)