In 1993, a quirky California boy named Beck burst onto the scene with the irony warped anthem "Loser." He has since earned a reputation as one of the most innovative, stylish, and vital recording artists of our time -- selling millions of records in the United States alone, heading up numerous Album of the Year lists, and taking home a few Grammys and MTV spacemen. This insightful portrait explores Beck's unorthodox childhood, his rise to fame, and his impact on the landscape of contemporary music.
When Odelay hit shelves in the summer of 1996, it was clear this eccentric young man was a musical force to be reckoned with. Born Bek David Campbell in 1970 to a Warhol Superstar mother and a bluegrass musician father, Beck spent his adolescence recording audio oddities and learning to strum old blues songs on a pawn shop guitar -- planting the seed for his critically acclaimed outings Mellow Gold, Odelay, Mutations, and Midnite Vultures. Mixing funk, folk R&B, soul, hip-hop, and rock 'n' roll into a heady sonic cocktail, Beck has crafted a singular sound that is as hard to pin down as it is recognizable.
Exploring his musical history, live performances, and recording sessions -- and featuring a complete discography that includes hard-to-find collaborations and appearances -- this is a comprehensive and fascinating inating look at the inimitable and ever-evolving Beck.
The "ever-chimerical... utterly singular sound maelstrom without boundary or inhibition" that is Beck is paid prolix tribute by Nevin Martell (Dave Matthews Band: Music for the People) in Beck: The Art of Mutation. This biography-cum-musicology ranges from his unconventional, artistic family (he grew up watching Truffaut movies; his avant-garde grandfather named The Velvet Underground) to his creative, high school-drop-out L.A. youth to his inchoate neo-folk open-mic East Village days to his continuously rising star, with analyses of his music and milieu throughout. Though slimmer than Rob Jovanonic's Beck!: On a Backwards River (Forecasts, Mar. 12), Martell's hip, intelligent critique and enthusiasm for Beck's "zeitgeist-seizing slice of pop postmodernism" alongside many quotations and photos of "the outside insider" will garner big sales. ( July)