By People Staff
December 29, 1997 12:00 PM

HEADS ARE HANGING FROM THEGARBAGE Man trees/Mouthwash jukebox gasoline; Are these the words of. a prophet—or a space cadet? Either way, the lyrics from “Devils Haircut,” a hit single from the platinum album Odelay, helped 27-year-old Beck win two Grammys and five MTV Video Music Awards this year. Thanks to fans and critics who vow he’s the most thought-provoking talent of his day, Beck (superfluous last name: Hansen) has become the Bob Dylan of the ’90S—and one you can dance to, “He’s a musical genius,” says his co-producer Mike Simpson, who concedes, “I don’t Know what he’s saying. It’s like haiku.”

For ninth-grade dropout Beck, whose father was a bluegrass musician and mother a performance artist-singer, it’s plain as day. “I was sick of all the negativity in grunge music,” he says. With Odelay, “I wanted to do something creative and affirming, that had a life force to it.” To keep the force flowing, Beck, who lives with his girlfriend, fashion stylist Leigh Limon, in the Los Feliz section of L.A. where he grew up, channel-surfs the Zeitgeist, but not the tube—he doesn’t own a TV set. If he did, he says, “I don’t think I’d do anything else.” And besides cooking and crossword puzzles, there is, he promises, plenty left to do. “All you’ve seen is, ‘This is a test,’ not the actual broadcast. Prime time has not come on yet. I’ve got a million ideas.”