This is typically when Beck would hit you with a change-up dim the lights, warm the milk, and go quietly into the darkness to follow the party-rock high jinks of Guero with an album more in keeping with his introspective side. And Nigel Godrich did produce Beck's two most understated records, Mutations and Sea Change. But The Information, an album Beck and Godrich started working on three years ago, does something truly unexpected. It repeats the "Odelay-style casserole of all things Beck" approach he took to Guero, from a leadoff track that works the folk-rap beat like "Son of Loser" to the melancholy psychedelic majesty of "Soldier Jane" and "Dark Star," the latter of which has strings that sound like someone throwing "Kashmir" off the Tallahatchie Bridge. If anything, this album pushes the beat even harder than Guero, and not just in obvious places like "1000BPM" or "Cellphone's Dead" (a bass-popping triumph that could be this year's "Where It's At"). Even the midtempo folk-rocking stuff has a spring in its step. And the lyrics are brilliant, as usual, as rock's most consistent surrealist plumbs the heart of darkness with a lampshade on his head.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.