As a reminder that he is pretty famous, Beck plans a Song Reader album featuring Jack White, Jarvis Cocker, Jeff Tweedy, and many others

As a reminder that he is pretty famous, Beck plans a Song Reader album featuring Jack White, Jarvis Cocker, Jeff Tweedy, and many others

“Hey,” Beck says, “did you forget for a second that I’m super famous and have super famous friends that have done things like star in the popular film School of Rock and help to write a song that went on to be covered by William Shatner with the help of Ben Folds?”

“Wow, Mr. Hansen,” I start to say, impressed at how famous he is, but he interrupts me.

“That’s Mr. Beck, to you, peon! I’m so famous that my albums come with sequels these days! I don’t know, maybe some of my albums might even become trilogies with the third installment split into two parts like the popular film series The Hunger Games,” he says.

The Hunger Games is indeed a popular film series, why just the other day my neighbor was saying…” I begin before getting cut off again.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of my Song Reader project. How I originally released it as a sumptuous…”

“Good word choice, Mr. Beck!” I interject.

“But of course. It’s a sumptuous book from McSweeney’s so other people could play the songs I wrote instead of me having to mess with recording them because I was busy planning album sequels and beds shaped like my face,” he intones.

“Oh, I know. I even wrote a news post once acknowledging such facts,” I offer.

“Ah, good. Well would you mind whipping up another one for me?” he asks, wistfully.

“Sure, no problem. What should it say?” I ask, eager to please.

“Well, be sure to remind people that I’m famous, of course, and that I have famous friends like Fun., Jeff Tweedy, Jack White, Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, David Johansen, and Sparks.”

“No problem, friend,” I say, still eager.

“Well, first off, I’m not your friend, bucko. And second off, would you mind saying that I said something like ‘All these folks really took the ball in their own court and dribbled it real good and ran with it’ about how good the record is?” he asks.

“Absolutely! How about something like ‘It amazes me to hear how these musicians have made the songs their own and in the process revealed that the interpretation is the living breathing soul of the piece?’ People love it when you use the word ‘soul’ in press releases,” I say as I make up facts.

“Wow! Really? That’s a fact I didn’t know! Gonna keep that one in the ole back pocket,” he says as he smiles for the first time during our conversation.

“I guess all that’s left to do is to say the release date, which is July 29. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Beck!” I say. But as if he were the wind, he is gone.

Song Reader tracklist:

01. Moses Sumney: “Title of this Song”
02. Fun.: “Please Leave A Light On When You Go”
03. Tweedy: “The Wolf is on the Hill”
04. Norah Jones: “Just Noise”
05. Lord Huron: “Last Night You Were A Dream”
06. Bob Forrest: “Saint Dude”
07. Jack White: “I’m Down”
08. Beck: “Heaven’s Ladder”
09. Juanes: “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard”
10. Laura Marling: “Sorry”
11. Jarvis Cocker: “Eyes That Say ‘I Love You’”
12. David Johansen: “Rough On Rats”
13. Jason Isbell: “Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings”
14. The Last Polka: “Marc Ribot”
15. Eleanor Friedberger: “Old Shanghai”
16. Sparks: “Why Did You Make Me Care?”
17. Swamp Dogg: “America, Here’s My Boy”
18. Jack Black: “We All Wear Cloaks”
19. Loudon Wainwright III: “Do We? We Do”
20. Gabriel Kahane with Ymusic: “Mutilation Rag”

• Beck:
• Capitol:

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