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Album Review: Hyperspace by Beck

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It is crazy to think that Beck is still making music, especially since his first album was released 25 years ago. Ever since his first album, he has literally done it all, with several genre-bending albums. His 2017 album, Colors, took on some more electronic elements. It's no surprise that his latest album, Hyperspace, would embrace that electronic feel. He even recruited Pharrell Williams to help with the production of the album. Despite being an electronic element, some of the tracks have a dark and eerie feeling to it. Since Beck went through a divorce earlier this year, we could consider this another Sea Change.

The album starts off slow with Hyperlife. It's a very eerie opening track with some arpeggios and an orchestra full of string instruments. Despite its eerieness, it does feel beautiful and sets the tone for the album. On this track, Beck talks about how he wants to grow and experience more of life with this one person.

Again, focusing on the electronic aspect, Uneventful Days definitely expresses that. When hearing the synths on this track, I can't help but think of FL Studio. Back when I was in high school, I use to dabble and create some small tracks using FL Studio and I remember using the pre-installed instrument samples. It doesn't sound terrible, but it just reminds me of a cheaply made backing track. Based on the lyrics now, it seems like Beck is in a dark place and most of his days are boring. It also sounds like he is reminiscing about his marriage and that he doesn't want to let her go.

Saw Lightning is definitely one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. It was also a promotional single for this album. Pharrell's verse on this track ruined my enjoyment of this track. I know Pharrell was going for a specific sound, but it just comes out sloppy and he sounds like a mumble rapper, even if it supposed to be a fun track. Other than that, there isn't too much I can say about the track, other than Beck is trying to get to brighter and happier days.

This is another happier and poppy track off of the album. With the echoed and background vocals during the chorus, Beck talks about how he is always going to wait for this person, no matter what the situation is.

Chemical is my personal favorite from the album. Just a surreal, 80's like feeling when the synthesizers come in towards the beginning. It's a mix of 80s synth-pop, mellow guitars, and trap-infused beats. Somehow, all of these genres mix and mesh together to create a catchy and appealing track. Again, Beck is a hopeless romantic and is talking about how love is a chemical and it gets him high.

I would have thought See Through was a Travis Scott track if you played the first few seconds for me. As much as I love Beck, his singing doesn't really go over well during the verses. The chorus is perfect, but his singing style does not mix well with the trap aesthetic of the track. I would have liked to see Beck drop a few bars on this track, but those days might be gone.

Then we get into some aggressive synths with the title track of the album, Hyperspace. However, this track does bring us back to Beck's pseudo-rapping days and invites Terrell Hines to deliver a few lines on the track. The end of the track does bring us back to the first track of the album where we had those droning string instruments.

Another personal highlight of the album would be Stratosphere which reminds me of Beck from the past. The chords presented during the chorus of the track are so beautiful and hypnotizing. Despite the electronic effects used on Beck's voice, this is as stripped-down of a track you will find on the album. On this track, Beck basically says there's nowhere to go when he gets to the stratosphere, which is a layer of the atmosphere. That could mean that he can no longer "go up" in the music industry or his music career.

Dark Places reminds me of the old MIDI sound files you would find on retro gaming systems. As the album has been progressing, Beck has been starting to accept the fact that his relationship with this person has ended. However, we are back at square one with this track. He is back in this dark place and wants to convince this person that there is a place in this world for his ex.

Star is a short, quirky and fun track. On this track, he talks about how she's taking her time to get out of his mind and life. Not too much to say about this track, but definitely one of the better tracks off of this album.

The last track on the album is Everlasting Nothing. This truly reminds me of a Sea Change track with the raw emotion he's putting into it. Wayne Coyne, the frontman of The Flaming Lips, gave Beck the suggestion to name his 2002 album (Sea Change) Standing Ovation for the Funeral of the Sun. Instead, Beck used that line on the closing track of this album.

The more I have listened to this album, the more I have realized I am probably not going to be seeking out this album any time soon. There are several Beck albums I have loved and appreciated from the past, but I do not see myself casually listening to this entire project as a whole. There are some amazing tracks on here, but the low points are dreadful and painful to get through at times.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Chemical, Stratosphere, Everlasting Nothing

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