Enchanting. The best word to describe the essence of Beck’s 14th album is enchanting. His soft and lucid coos draw you in through layers of thumbed guitars and lay you down gently with a sympathetic piano. You wouldn’t expect it but this man has been doing some serious soul-searching. The subtle plucking of the banjo throughout the album, most audible in ‘Say Goodbye’, is an interesting pairing for his harrowing lyrics. You can’t help but feel a bit of sadness and despair after your first listen. Several listens later, you can almost feel the brightness of a new day and the morning sun’s warmth on the back of your neck.
During ‘Unforgiven’, the drifting piano effect slips you into a swaying trans and the lyrics of the song linger with you. The maturation of his sound is perfected in the height of this album. Beck’s voice is transformed enviously in ‘Wave’, a song with dramatic strings and a sullen atmosphere. Sliding a bit back to his raw, folk roots in ‘Blackbird Chain’, there’s a slight hint of a waltz vibe in its rhythm, which gives the album a break from its tender state.
The album takes a breath of air from ‘Phase’, very similar to the intro of ‘Cycle’, almost like a palette cleanser. Which I may have needed going into ‘Turn Away’, a song I can only describe emotional, appealing to my sensitive, girly side. Rounding out with an earthy, 70’s inspired jam, ‘Morning Phase’ sets you free from that stressful day you had, giving you a new outlook on the day. This charming, entrancing 13-song album is exactly what I look forward to listening to at the start of a new day. Beck’s honest and evolved talents are highly apparent in this release, giving light to a more refined sound. I find myself even more interested in what’s to come from this established and humble musician.