Beck - Cell Phone's Dead

Alex Worsnip 08/10/2006

Rating: 3/5

Beck is the kind of artist who's eased into a mid-career groove, continuing to churn out to music to general acclaim and satisfaction of his fans, seemingly unaffected by the trends and dynamics of the industry. Nevertheless, he's gone through a few sound changes, from the Prince-obsessed funk of 'Midnite Vultures' to the gorgeous acoustics of 'Sea Change' and its gorgeous lead single 'Lost Cause'. But last album 'Guero' was a return to his classic Odelay-era sound. 'Cell Phone's Dead', from new album 'The Information', is largely more of the same. It blends a popping electro-hop beat with some lush harmonies and the customary clicking and beeping. Its verses are the most hip-hop thing he's done in a while, and only a strangely folky middle eight breaks up the stabbing funk of the bassline. Despite reprising past themes (perhaps indeed blending them together), it's oddly futuristic, and extremely well-produced. Up to his usual quality, then, but nothing especially new, and difficult to get really excited about.