Personnel includes: Beck (vocals, acoustic guitar & electric guitars, banjo, keyboards, synthesizer, glockenspiel, percussion); Smokey Hormel (electric guitar, acoustic slide guitar, bamboo saxophone, piano); Jason Faulkner (electric guitar); Roger Mannning (banjo, Indian banjo, Wurlitzer piano, harmonium, clavinet, syntesizer, glockenspiel, percussion, background vocals); Nigel Godrich (keyboards, percussion); Justin Meldal-Johnsen (electric bass, upright bass, percussion, background vocals); Joey Waronker (drums, percussion); James Gadson (drums).
SEA CHANGE was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album.
Though 1998's MUTATIONS was the closest Beck had come at the time to conventional (read: non-ironic) troubadourisms, he quickly declared the album a detour and swiftly followed it up with the Prince-influenced about-face of MIDNITE VULTURES. It comes as something of a surprise, then, that he should focus his subsequent efforts on an unprecedentedly earnest singer-songwriter album like SEA CHANGE, which finds him purposefully peeling away his multiple levels of irony. Trumpeted in the press as a post-breakup album, SEA CHANGE has been called Beck's BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, and it's true that he'd never been anywhere near this emotionally naked before.
Sonically, he seems to have (at least momentarily) laid aside his R&B/hip-hop aspirations in pursuit of a late-'60s/early-'70s folk-rock aesthetic. Several cuts have a lazy, Gram Parsons-like country-rock tinge. On "Round the Bend," he delivers a moody, string-swathed lament obviously modeled on Nick Drake's "River Man." While some might lament the departure of the word-spinning wiseguy, SEA CHANGE still seems an inevitable and important step in Beck's artistic maturation.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (12/26/02, p.103) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2002"
Rolling Stone (10/3/02, pp.97-9) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...A perfect treasure of soft, spangled woe sung with a heavy open heart. It's the best album Beck has ever made....This is his BLOOD ON THE TRACKS."
Spin (1/03, p.70) - Ranked #3 on Spin's list of 2002's "Albums of the Year"
Spin (10/02, p.111) - 9 out of 10 - "...A supremely dainty-assed achievement that jerks real tears..."
Entertainment Weekly (9/27/02, p.85) - "...A beautiful mournful hymn of love won and lost....For the first time, Beck is playing himself..." - Rating: B+
Q (12/02, p.65) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 2002"
Q (10/02, pp.98-9) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Very nearly a very great album....brooding atmospherics, reflective acoustic settings, a desert road movie conducted at a snail's place..."
Uncut (1/03, p.94) - Ranked #8 in Uncut's "100 Best Albums of the Year" - "...SEA CHANGE is Beck's BLOOD ON THE TRACKS..."
The Wire (10/02, p.51) - "...The mood is muted, constant, studiously introverted..."
CMJ (12/30/02, p.10) - Ranked #3 on CMJ's "Top 10 of 2002"
CMJ (10/7/02) - "...Truly soulful songs....this record is really a spotlight on a man and his guitar....there is a beauty inherent in sadness. Beck is quite clearly intimately familiar with it..."
Vibe (11/02, p.154) - "...Steeped in gorgeous, tear-stained country ballads..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/03, p.73) - Ranked #7 in Mojo's "Best Albums of 2002"
Mojo (Publisher) (10/02, p.90) - "...There's no trickery here, only transformation..."
NME (Magazine) (9/21/02, p.38) - 6 out of 10 - "...A rainy afternoon album--quietly affecting, occasionally sublime..."
- Golden Age, The
- Paper Tiger
- Guess I'm Doing Fine
- Lonesome Tears
- Lost Cause
- End Of The Day
- It's All In Your Mind
- Round The Bend
- Already Dead
- Sunday Sun
- Little One
- Side Of The Road