Morning Phase

If you’re a musician, Beck is one of those rare talents that you listen to and just go, “Why do I even try?” He is the real thing: truly creative and on a completely different level than most of us. It was 20 years ago when I first heard Beck. I was a senior in high school and he was a brand new thing, making music like I’d never heard before. And he continued to be a brand new thing, reinventing his sound from album to album. His latest, Morning Phase, is full of slow emotional ballads that evoke a sense of loss and sorrow, while simultaneously hinting at the beginning of a brand new day. One of the biggest themes of the album is loneliness and isolation. In “Blue Moon,” he sings: “I’m so tired of being alone/ These penitent walls are all I’ve known/ The songbird calling/ Across the water/ Outside my silent asylum.” While listening to a slow instrumental track of orchestrated strings titled “Phase,” my 6-year-old daughter said, “This sounds like the kind of music they’d play in a movie after someone dies.” I couldn’t argue with that—the album, though beautiful, is pretty sad.