June 4, 2013

Song Review: Beck's "Defriended"

Beck has a done more than his fair share of reinventions over the years, and at this point in his career, he can even throw out a campy book of sheet music and call it an album. It's reported that the veteran alt-rock cool kid will have two new albums out by year's end -- one being an acoustic LP, which hopefully will be more in tune with Sea Change or his production work for Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts than say, a straight-forward folk out -- and the other, the proper follow-up to his 2008 Danger Mouse-helmed effort Modern Guilt. In the meantime, "Defriended," a new single from the eclectic Los Anglican songwriter, leaked its way onto the web a few days ago, and it's planned to get a formal release later on this summer. Being that it's promoted as a "standalone" single, you probably shouldn't read too much between the glitchy blips and bleeps as an indication as to where Beck plans on taking his sound on LP 11, and that's probably all for the better. This isn't the case of a song not fulfilling expectations since it is an interesting turn of a different sort for the chronically evolving bohemian, but rather what might happen when a mainstream superstar starts to take cues from the less commercially successful and often more innovative artists beneath him. In this instance, "Defriended"'s washed out vocals, sun-soaked ambience and space-age psych-synths suggest that Beck has been spending hours on end in his bedroom with both Panda Bear's Tomboy and maybe even his his fellow L.A. friends Liars' brilliant electronic endeavor WIXIW. Take nothing away from Beck, as he's done those influences justice here on "Defriended," but next time around, it'd be nice to hear him upgrade his kaleidoscopic transmissions using his own software.

Beck - "Defriended"

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