1993 was a big year for Beck as it was the year his famous song “Loser” was released to the world. Quickly after its release it became a surprise success and skyrocketed into popularity and into music charts as well. A year after Beck released his for major record album, “Yellow Gold”, and the anti-commercial singer became one of the most popular acts around. Beck came off as a slacker, a carefree hippie, and an anti-establishment hero of sorts that people just dug. For whatever reason, be it luck or otherwise, Beck became a household name and it was all because of “Mellow Gold”.
For those that are familiar with Beck’s music and his more popular and praised albums you’ll know that “Sea Change” and “Odelay” are typically seen as his golden standards. That being said, “Mellow Gold” shouldn’t be overlooked by any means as it is an important part of musical history and Beck’s career as well. The album has a lot of styles and techniques that become hallmarks of Beck’s music including his differentiating vocal styles, strange punk rock antics, witty and ironic lyrics, and even some of his slower songs that grew into loveable songs like “Lost Cause”.
“Mellow Gold” is really fun and incredible when you dig into it and realize the layers of sound that each song has within itself let alone the album itself. To kick things off there’s the famous and well known “Loser”, the song that many if not all critics would say launched Beck into his rock star status. After that listeners are treated to what Beck can do with his twisted and witty lyrics in the song “Pay No Mind”. It’s a slower song that doesn’t suck the life out of the album but instead keeps things moving at Beck’s own pace.
As the album progresses songs continue to get weirder, more intense, and stylistically different from one another in ways that few acts can produce. Typically when a band or singer creates songs that are too different from one another listeners feel confused, as if the band is trying too hard. However, when Beck gets going it’s like an unleashed freight train of epic musical enjoyment. “Fuckin With My Head” and “Soul Sucking Jerk” both walk the line between absolute craziness and tightly controlled music which is really something great to hear. At times it feels like Beck is packing too much into a song but just when you question it he pulls it all back and you feel at home once again with his styles.
“Beercan” provides the beats and melodies of some of Beck’s more relaxing jams while “Nitemare Hippy Girl” feels like a wonderful precursor to the now beloved song “Sun Eyed Girl.” Overall “Mellow Gold” is just interesting because it all feels like a precursor to the songs and styles people know and love Beck for nowadays. Yet, at the same time, it still feels like a fresh and original album that can stand on its own two feet. “Mellow Gold” is much more than a history lesson, and much more than a place holder for “Loser”, it’s an album all its own with styles all to itself.
Standout track-“Beercan”-while “Loser” is awesome and well known “Beercan” is one of those Beck songs I can listen to over and over and over and over and over and over and over…..
Listen to it if- You know where it’s at.
Don’t listen to it if- You’re winning
Overall opinion- It’s more than just “old Beck” and it’s really something worth listening to because you see how it all evolved, not to mention the songs are awesome.