It’s been almost five years since we’ve heard some new Beck tunes. Wait, scratch that: last December, he put out Song Reader, a book of sheet music containing 20 new tunes. In other words, Beck did drop a new LP, but in order to listen to it, you had to either read and/or perform the songs on your own or, in the case of lazy ol’ zcamp, bribe your musically-inclined friends and family with baklava and fake tears. And before you start in with the whole “oh, but that’s how music used to be for thousands of years!” and the “maybe if you hadn’t fallen asleep in music theory, you would be listening to the new Beck album now!,” let me just say that I am just another privileged, middle-class millennial who doesn’t know any better.
Anyway! The dark days between Beck albums are finally drawing to a close; this fall will see the release of a new acoustic LP, and Rolling Stone reports that a second album — “the proper follow-up to [2008’s] Modern Guilt” — is in the works as well. “Defriended” isn’t specifically tethered to either one of those projects, but it’s safe to say that it’s not very acoustic-sounding at all. Rather, it’s a teetering vortex of bleeps and bloops and whirring synths that offer a fleeting glimpse of what 2006’s The Information might have sounded like if Beck had ditched the hip-hop for a fuzzier, more fractured sound. The familiar, lilting melodics you’ve come to expect from a Beck song are still there, even with some good ol’ fashioned guitar strumming — you just have to sift through the electronic dross to find them. And best of all, every time you dive into the slurry, it sounds just a little bit different. Just don’t ask me what the time signature is; remember, I fell asleep in music theory.
• Beck: http://www.beck.com