Beck is good. I truly believe that. I love his most popular stuff and his most obscure, but every now and again, dude gets lost and makes some serious mistakes. I know the always-sparkly folks at Pitchfork and the oh-so trustworthy critics at Rolling Stone give anything he touches higher than high ratings, but I can't help but feel more than disappointed by Modern Guilt. Lead single "Gamma Ray" is a killer 60's throwback and "Volcano" is a beautifully droned-out LP closer, but what lies between is regurgitated Gnarls Barkley b-side beats and what Beck would probably not have used as B-Sides just 2-3 years ago.
Maybe I need to sit with the record more. Every time I say that, it doesn't help. Records that need to "grow" on you tend to um, suck. Eddie Van Halen said to listen to VH III at least seven times before it would sink in. I never made it past 1/3 of the LP. Who has that much time to waste?
I know this record will top many Top 2008 lists, but this will probably enter my Lest Good column. It's no Chris Cornell, but Beck doesn't have the ability to sink that low. This is merely a bump in the road. He'll be back with some new craziness that will make many an ass shake in no time. Funny though...I love his groovier stuff, but it's his introspective work that always wows me the most. For my money, Sea Change is his crowning achievement.