Beck’s cherished originality extends twelve albums before the recent release of his 2017 album Colors. His hits—from “Loser” in 1996 to “Blue Moon” in 2014—have all maintained the strain that makes him unique: his ability to blend components of different genres of music, primarily acoustic rock and pop. Colors, disappointingly, fails to do this. Instead of combining genres, Beck throws together different elements from modern pop music, creating what seemed like a tasteless pop music salad.
Colors seems to be the result of a reckless attempt to give modern listeners what Beck assumes they want to hear: hard beats, careless rapping, and synchronized melodies. By layering these elements on top of each other, Beck often covers up any true potential the songs hold. Take “Dear Life,” for instance. The song begins with a short and jazzy piano solo, but on the eighth count, a strong synthetic pounding steals the song’s authenticity and the piano is barely audible. This is very unlike his past albums which highlighted real instruments, giving his music a certain truth and vulnerability. “I’m So Free” is another example of an overload of pop components hiding real musicality. It begins with a playful bass line and a short piano intro as well, but is then met with the same generic beat on the eighth count. The chorus—“I’m so free now/And the way I walk is up to me now”—reminds me of a hopeless talent show audition. Although there are some catchy songs, like “Dreams” and “Wow,” the album is unsuccessful in its craft.
Instead of the articulate diversity we usually hear from Beck, we’re given an unfortunate attempt to maintain his long-lived status and to please a rapidly changing music industry.