An anti-folksinger,, homeless-identified, indie-diehard, hip-hop junkie,sluck mothfkr, beatnik poet, garage-rocker, 'zine-collagist, fume-inhaling permanent boychild, Beck's like a telephone pole erupting into song in the voice of a thousand stapled flyers, effortlessly drifting between the semiotic detritus of a generation's worth of subcultures.The effect is musical-folkie strum to hardcore rant to hiphop dread to peanut-butter-and-cucumber combinations--and even more impressively lyrical; sociopolitical separations merged as easily as "drive-by body pierce" and "I sleep in slime/I just got signed."With a lobotomized twang that's all his own, Beck's secure identity may be his hardest rocking attribute.And his vision of what "folk" means is revelatory.So let's clear things up.Mellow Gold is an essential album, filled with surprisingly crafted plastic ditties."Nightmare Hippy Girl" ends on the perfect mellow tag:"she's a neverending story." "Beercan" quotes Kool Moe Dee("how ya like me now?") and alludes to the '60s garage tune "Let It All Hang Out", in each case because the music's already provided a sonic echo. Dense. Drugged. Deranged. Dazzling.Bring it home and watch what probably originated as dicking around cohere.


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