The Last Mixed Tape reviews Colors, the much-anticipated new studio album from Beck.
Things fall apart on Colors, that much is clear. Unbound by a strong central theme, Beck’s latest offering is an aimless affair that feels more like a pastiche of dance-pop rather than an ode to it. While the album may be a transition from the weighty drama of Morning Phase to something lighter (not a new tactic for Beck), it’s hard not to be left feeling disappointed.
The good comes from the songwriting itself. ‘Dreams’ is a hook-filled slick slice of funk-pop and is in many ways the highlight of the album, whilst ‘Wow’ is a fun almost tongue in cheek little oddity that harkens back to Beck’s hip-hop influences. Add to this the fuzzy jangled collage that is ‘Dear Life’, another song with an instantly catchy chorus, and all the basic ingredients are there. But what’s missing is the spice. Maybe the most frustrating aspect of Colors is the lost opportunities these strong foundations provide.
All of the above points work in Colors favour. However, given the artist behind the album, the record is never nearly as interesting sonically as you’d come to expect from Beck. Instead of taking the core pop songwriting sensibilities shown in songs like ‘Up All Night’ or the slow-moving ballad ‘Fix Me’ and contorting them into something more exciting, Beck simply leaves them to stand as they are. And when an attempt to experiment is made (see the growing distortion of ‘I’m So Free’) it feels like an afterthought. While Colors is certainly radio friendly, this is simply not the only expectation when it comes to someone with Beck’s pedigree.
Colors isn’t excessive enough to be memorable and not nearly enough of a disaster to be interesting. Instead, shockingly for Beck, the album is relatively middle of the road, with one or two saving graces along the way. In the end, Colors is a good pop album, just not a very good Beck album. One for completionists only.
Colors by Beck is out now.