Every once in a while a new album stops you dead in your tracks upon first listen just by its sheer beauty alone. “Morning Phase” by Beck is definitely one of those albums. It is 47 minutes of perfectly crafted bliss that you’ll need to listen to without pause.
Beck has gone through so many phases and incarnations as an artist, ranging from funky/freaky/experimental (think “Midnite Vultures”) to more somber/morose/reflective (think “Sea Change” and songs such as “Nobody’s Fault But My Own). This is Beck at his finest; the music is mature, melodic, pensive, orchestral and altogether pretty chilled out.
It definitely recalls several elements of his 2002 masterpiece, “Sea Change,” in the best possible way. I closed my eyes after hearing the opening notes of the first track and was immediately transported back to the bookstore where I worked during the summer after my freshman year of college, where we had that album in heavy rotation. My immediate response to “Morning Phase” was that it’s a “less depressing ‘Sea Change.'” The tracks are definitely sunnier and feel lighter overall, while still using much of the same composition and conveying a similar lulled reflectiveness as “Sea Change.”
It’s hard to choose even a few standout tracks; each one is so well crafted and beautiful and must be listened to, so go ahead. Treat yo’ self…