An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!
This week is going to be one of those Weekend Earworms that may leave some feeling more than a bit old. If you happen to frequent this column at all, you know that I’m no stranger to sharing throwbacks from the ’80s and ’90s and basking in their guilty pleasure qualities. However, this week’s article hits me right in the gut (which is where I assume nostalgia lives) when I realized that Beck’s Odelay is now over 20 years old. This’ll be a rare edition presented with no irreverence to the materials because, let’s face it, the music of Beck Hansen deserves all the praise in the world. I might as well say it now: I’m probably going to pass on sharing “Where It’s At” because, come on, there’s more to share than the song everyone already knows.
Ok, so I suppose there are quite a few Beck songs (especially ones from this album) that everyone already knows and “Devil’s Haircut” certainly resides around the top of the list of songs unintentionally committed to everyone’s memory. Odelay was released in June of 1996 and made its way to my ears around the fall of that year due to a new school year and making friends who had a far better taste in music than I did. So, in the era of portable CD players, that autumn I would start most mornings with this song blasting its way into my young mind on the way to school. This was a huge step up if you consider the year before was probably spent rocking out to the soundtrack of A Goofy Movie.
The New Pollution
When I was younger, Beck’s style always struck me as bizarre and almost otherworldly. His music and videos felt like they were somehow displaced in time and rarely seemed to match with the things his contemporaries were creating. The best comparison I can come up with is Prince. Don’t worry, I’m not saying that Beck is on the same level as Prince (because no one is or ever will be) but they’re certainly in the same neighborhood when it comes to being unique musicians. This anachronistic nature is, I think, part of his appeal because nearly everything he produces (even to this day) defies being automatically labeled by decade or even genre.
Other than the uber-popular singles we all know, some of my favorites from Odelay are songs like “Sissyneck”, “Lord Only Knows” or “Jack-Ass” that show off that ability to exist in between time and genre. They each live somewhere between alternative rock and country songs while maintaining the distinct “Beck vibe” (if I may be so lame as to coin such a phrase).
Other than a few of the overplayed tracks through the years (thanks a lot, radio DJs), there’s still substantial staying power in this album that few from the same decade possess. Its ability to fuel the nostalgic fibers of our brains (or mine at the very least) without ever sounding stale is an impressive feat, especially after 20 years.
What are your favorite tracks from Odelay? What are some favorites from Beck’s recent releases? Did you really think I was such a monster that I wouldn’t share “Where It’s At“? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. You can be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)