Beck has been diverging from the dreamy alt-folk that shaped his 2014 record Morning Phase and has since dipped his toes into different genres like electro-pop — he collaborated with Flume on “Tiny Cities” — and even hip-hop — as best heard on his latest single “Wow”.
Turns out the rousing “Wow” is but a mere taste of what’s to come from the songwriter’s as-yet-untitled album due out in October. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Beck noted the LP was three years in the making — begun long before its predecessor came to fruition — and discussed how he struggled to settle on a particular genre-bending sound. In fact, after Morning Phase won the Grammy for Album of the Year, much of what he had planned for this new record was scrapped. “It took a while for it to find an identity,” he told the magazine.
Beck called upon producer Greg Kurstin (Sia, Adele) to help with the album’s identity crisis. The two had worked together in the past, with Kurstin serving as a multi-instrumentalist in Beck’s Sea Change touring band. This time around, though, Kurstin took on a much larger role by both producing the album and writing alongside Beck.
Of his newfound sound — that actually builds upon older hits like “Loser”, “Devil’s Haircut” and “Where It’s At”, among others — Beck said he was inspired by the enthusiasm of large summer festivals and their younger crowds. He also took a page from the infectious high energy of bands such as The Strokes, with whom he toured last year.
“It’s a summer night, people have their hands up,” he told Rolling Stone. “It’s a communal, celebratory thing. I wanted to take that into the studio, a kind of energy or joy. The thing that wakes you up a little bit.” Among the tracks on the forthcoming record are “Seventh Heaven”, an anthem about matters of the heart, and “No Distractions”, which the publication described as a “dance-y, Talking Heads-like stomp.”
On the subject of his live show, Beck naturally mentioned his reignited interest in touring — he said the shows are “life-sparking” — and also acknowledged that while he has some new things he wants to say, he’s still filling out the picture, but that, “it’s all adding up.”
Beck’s Morning Phase follow-up is due out October 21st via Capitol Records. Below, revisit “Wow”.