Two albums quickly come to mind as comparison points for Beck’s first studio album in 6 years: Beck’s previous departure into folk, 2002’s Sea Change, and the ultra-specific and ultra-personal Benji from Sun Kil Moon. Morning Phase in many ways acts as the sequel to Sea Change, with Beck shedding his chameleon coat for a straightforward and earnest singer/songwriter record. Sea Change happened following a breakup, and while it was beautiful at points, the overall tone of the record was reflective and sober. On Morning Phase, is similarly beautiful, but takes more of a turn towards the euphoric than the brooding, catching a glimpse of the beauty of life. Benji acts as the antithesis in many ways Morning Phase. Where Benji is hyper-specific and includes deeply personal accounts of Mark Kozelek’s experiences with death, Morning Phase is a very simplified and impressionistic look at life, allowing the viewer to read their own experiences into the words. They also work as a comparison since they are the two best records so far in 2014, masterful at the disparate approaches they take.
Now that we are almost a month deep into 2014, and the dust has begun to settle on all the 2013 talk, we are ready to take a quick preview of things to come. All of these artists below are set to release albums in the upcoming year, and below are our most anticipated. As with all things in life, sometimes musical expectations just don’t meet reality. For instance, last year the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s were at #1 on the list. Then they also ended up #1 on our “Most Disappointing Albums of 2013″ list as well. So as always, forgive us our blunders as they arise, and please feel free to let us know what you are excited about in 2014 as well. Onto the list:
10. Joanna Newsom
In 2014 Joanna will release her first album in 4 years. Now that she is married to Andy Samberg, I only hope to expect a mix of Joanna’s uniquely classical sounds blended with the nonsensical, over-produced gaudiness of The Lonely Island. Just kidding. Hopefully it is just classic, lovely Joanna.
We heard a small snippet of Beck’s newest single “Blue Moon” in his album preview video in which they cut the first vinyl of Beck’s upcoming album, Morning Phase. It was just a short minute and a half snippet of the song, but it immediately resonated as an instant Beck classic. Now Beck has released the full version of the song, and the initial love for the track that was seeded in our hearts with the preview has only grown.
I know what you may be thinking/hoping, but no, this is unfortunately not a short playlist dedicated to the christian contemporary-Americana-folk-southern pop band (as they are described on their Wikipedia page) All Things New. This is in fact a short playlist dedicated to the bits of something new from the past week. We have all been gifted a nice latter year surplus of great albums and songs lately, and here are a few of my favorites from those recent drops (or in some cases, about to be dropped). I hope you enjoy:
CHVRCHES – “Tether”
CHVRCHES’ highly anticipated debut album officially releases next week, and here is what I consider to be the best track on the album. From the slow build up, to the epically great M83-esque breakdown toward the end, this tracks perfectly displays the depths of what this band can do and why they are easy to fall in love with.
I have to admit, when Beck announced his Song Reader album, I was undoubtedly disappointed. It felt like a bit of a copout, making an album you don’t play yourself and ask other people to make. It just feels incredibly lazy. But once you really think about what all a decision like this entails, it becomes much more interesting. So here are three reasons this is a brilliant idea.