Beck - Mutations

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-12-23

On his 1996 breakthrough album, Odelay, Beck Hansen surprised a sleepy music community by blending funk, rock, rap, alternative, and electronica in ways that were both startlingly innovative and irresistibly catchy. Mutations is equally attention-grabbing but not in the gangbusters-pimp-rock-meets-indie-geek style you might expect. Reflective and plaintive, the album reveals Beck's more sentimental side with an eclectic collection of acoustic-based songs that will sound familiar to anyone who cherishes his indie-rock effort One Foot in the Grave. And don't think just because Beck's gone soft, he's become boring. From one song to the next, the chameleonic guru strums pensively, shimmies to a bossa nova rhythm, swirls on a psychedelic cloud, plucks Baroque strains from a harpsichord, and weeps countrified tears into a rusty tin bucket. On Mutations, Beck proves that an undistorted guitar and a bit of creativity can easily sound as exciting as two turntables and a microphone. --Jon Wiederhorn

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