Although the novelty appeal of Beck Hansen’s 1994 debut single, the slacker anthem “Loser,” pegged him as a potential one-hit wonder, he is clearly aiming for longevity with his latest CD. This singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist combines a ragged, garage-band sensibility with high-tech production values.
The songs on Odelay bounce back and forth between hip hop, blues, country and western, alternative rock and wild-eyed punk—there’s even a little polka on “Hotwax.” While such whimsicality could easily have turned the album into a mishmash, remarkably, Odelay holds together. Beck tries on a variety of vocal hats and wears them all well. His malaise-stricken surfer dude on “Devils Haircut” seems straight out of Generation X, and his “Hotwax” rap convinces because, like the Beastie Boys before him, he doesn’t try to sound black. Even so, on “High 5 (Rock the Catskills)” he’s badder and funkier than most of hip hop’s boyz in the hood. (DGC)