'Morning Phase' Is Beck's Best Album "By Far," According to Rick Rubin

'Sea Change' though?

Photo: Stephen McGill

BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 22, 2024

What's Beck's best album? Fans of his post-modern hip-hop would likely argue it's 1996's Odelay, while lovers of his tender folk often stump for 2002's Sea Change, and a few funk friends might even vouch for 1999's Midnite Vultures. Not producer Rick Rubin, however — he claims that 2014's Morning Phase is Beck's best album "by far."

Speaking with producer Kenny Beats on Rubin's podcast Tetragrammaton back in October 2023, Rubin recalled hearing the album before it was released.

"His manager sent me the album in advance, and sent it to me saying, 'I think you might like this album. It's pretty cool. This is like the setup, 'cause his next is this really big album. This one's more just for him — no expectations," Rubin said.

He continued, "And I listened to it and it's like, 'Well, this is the best album he's ever made.' By far, no comparison. By far. And in his mind, and in the company's mind, this was like an in-between thing before we get to the real thing. And Morning Phase ends up becoming Album of the Year at the Grammys. And it's magnificent — deserves it!" 

Rubin is certainly right that Morning Phase was better than Beck's big pop album that followed it, 2017's Colors. Claiming it deserved Album of the Year at the Grammys is a slightly bolder claim, given that it controversially beat Beyoncé's self-titled LP.

And as for it being Beck's album "by far, no comparison," the comment might raise some eyebrows given that Morning Phase is clearly attempting to recreate the orchestral folk sound of an earlier LP, Sea Change.

Hear Rubin's comments below.

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