Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, Aug 19th, 2014

Beck Song Reader: Various Artists

beck song readerBeck Song Reader
Various Artists
(Capitol Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

I’d recommend Beck’s new Song Reader album based on its creativity, lineup of varied artists, and unique approach alone, so the fact that it happens to be terrific is just a great bonus.  The Song Reader project was originally released as a literal book of sheet music through McSweeney’s and the album features 20 interpretations of the songs by an array of guests including Beck himself.

There are some terrific tracks from Jeff Tweedy, Norah Jones, and Jarvis Cocker, but the most interesting interpretations offer more of a contrast to Beck’s recent sound such as Jack White’s raw version of  “I’m Down” and Fun.’s poppy, upbeat version of “Please Leave a Light On When You Go.”  It’s also great to hear quirky takes on the music from the likes of Jack Black, Loudon Wainwright III, and Juanes along with the more out-there musical numbers from The Last Polka and Gabriel Kahane with yMusic.  

It’s really a great collection of songs and an interesting listen, especially knowing the process and hearing the songwriter vs. the performer.  You have to give it to Beck for finding new creative ways to make music and stay fresh as an artist because even after years in the industry he still manages to innovate.  Even if you don’t generally buy albums, you can feel good buying this one as the proceeds will benefit the terrific educational non-for-profit 826 National who run reading and writing programs through their themed storefronts in cities across the US.

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Beck Song Reader: Various Artists