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CD of The Week

Week of 10/16/17

    Beck - Colors (Capitol)

    The buildup to Beck's long-awaited new album Colors has been a frustrating few years for his fans. In 2015, he surprisingly won the Grammy for Album of the Year for his moody, acoustic-based album Morning Phase. Beck immediately began talking about releasing another album within that year but all that arrived was the single "Dreams," one of the catchiest songs of his career (it was our #1 song of 2015). We hoped for an album last year, but Beck only gifted us with the off-kilter hip-hop track "Wow" (our #2 song of the year!) plus "Up All Night," which showed up in a video game and a TV ad. But at long last, Colors has arrived and the only question is, has it been worth the wait?

    The album was co-produced and co-written with his old friend Greg Kurstin, who played keyboards for Beck over a decade ago but has since become a superstar pop producer and collaborator. While there are some definitive nods to modern pop radio, Beck certainly wasn't going to make a "sell-out" record at 47 years old (while still looking 27).

    The sleek, ProTools-ed out sounds and computerized beats of the opening title track set the pace for the record. On "Seventh Heaven," Beck is trying out some interesting, very soulful singing that I've never heard him do before. The saloon piano and guitar tone of "Dear Life" bring to mind solo Paul McCartney. Album highlight "No Distraction" aims to push through the endless noise and technological distractions, which "Pull you to the left / Pull you to the right / Pull you in all directions" to focus on the actual person in front of you. It also has a Police vibe, but filtered through Bruno Mars' Police homage "Locked Out of Heaven." The single "Up All Night" is the other most notable pop-leaning tune here, as its soaring, danceable chorus isn't far from Justin Timberlake's massive hit "Can't Stop the Feeling." But of course, Beck has always filtered a wide variety of sounds and influences through his own lens, making them his own.

    Colors is certainly his most optimistic, happiest record, with multiple love songs certainly reflecting on the current state of his family life on songs such as the album closing one-two punch of "Square One" and "Fix Me."

    Since Beck's career has been full of zigs and zags, it's not a surprise that Colors is a slick, dance-heavy reaction to the mellow Morning Phase. Beck said that he wanted to a make a lighter, happier album that would simply be fun to perform live. Colors is lightweight but likeable and a worthy soundtrack for the next time you just wanna stay up all night and dr-dr-dr-dream.

    **Donate $15 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive a download of Colors. Click here for details.
    Review by Joey O.

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