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Friday, August 10, 2012

Cool Art or Stinky Fart: Beck's New Sheet Music Album

Posted by on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Surely you've seen the news, this December Beck "I'd be a lot cooler if I weren't a Scientologist" Hansen and McSweeney's are teaming up to release a new album that isn't an album at all, but actually a collection of sheet music. To hear the songs, you'll have to play them yourself. (Or, at least, wait about 24 hours after it's out to watch the thousands of YouTube videos of other people playing it.)


In the wake of Modern Guilt and The Information, Beck’s latest album comes in an almost-forgotten form—twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded. Complete with full-color, heyday-of- home-play-inspired art for each song and a lavishly produced hardcover carrying case (and, when necessary, ukelele notation), the Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012—an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that’s as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together.

The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author, but if you want to hear “Do We? We Do,” or “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard,” bringing them to life depends on you.

They go on to say that "Readers’ (and select musicians’) renditions of the songs will be featured on the McSweeney’s website." I think this is great! Pompous, sure. But an innovative experiment of what a record is and can be in a world where it's so easy to access, interpret, record, and share music.

I must know! Is it cool art? Or is it a stinky fart?


Comments (4) RSS

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I like some of his music, but he married into the Scientology elite, I can't take him seriously as a person. It's sad for him, but supporting him directly supports that criminal org and its human-rights abuses.
Posted by not interested, no way on August 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Timrrr 3
He did crib it -- from the thousands of years that preceded Edison's invention of the phonograph in 1877 and the subsequent mass production of gramophone records that took hold around the 1920s.
Posted by Timrrr on August 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Report this
it's a decent concept, but you can rest assured that if beck's doing it, he clearly cribbed it from someone else.

few made "ironic anachronisms" as tiresome as beck did. he can claim that as his own.
Posted by deepconcentration on August 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM · Report this
I think that it is cool. I'm not going to buy it, but it's still really neat.
Posted by JonnyH on August 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM · Report this

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