Beck’s 13th studio album Colours is like a pop music Jägerbomb, full of energy but leave a strange taste in your mouth. The instrumentation is distinctive and massive. Beck has taken a traditional pop sound and infused it a bit of funk and an experimental attitude. Thisculminates in a bold sound which attacks your ear drums. In short, the instrumentation on the album is exquisite, from the flute hook on Colours to the MGMT esqueDreams – Colours Mix.
However, while sonically this album is great lyrically it’s rather disappointing. The songs all feel quite clichéd falling into standard pop music tropes. Songs such as Up All Night and Seven Heaven highlight this lack of thematic originality, both being about the perfect night with the perfect girl. These themes aren’t exactly new. This problem isn’t helped by the lack of depth throughout the album. At no point does Beck feel like he is emotionally invested in the lyrics, instead they are just excuses for the music. Thank God, the music is so damn good.
Colours is the perfect title for this album with it sounding like an Andy Warhol picture come to life. The energy is unparalleled and the songs feel as if they are always scared of becoming stale, so they keep reinventing themselves. While this provides excitement on early listens it isn’t always successful and leads to some songs feeling dragged out. Furthermore, the album is front loaded with the best songs with the second half unable to keep up with the energy of the first, but also failing to provide something different (with the exception of Square One). Also, while the experimentation is key to the success of the album many of the vocal effects and overlays get irritating after multiple listens and often makes the album feel over-produced, a stark contrast with Beck’s lo-fi roots.
Another minor gripe I have with this album is that it contains two versions of the song Dreams. Seeing as the original version was initially released in 2015 there was no need for it to appear on the album, and what is even more offending is that the colours mix isn’t even considerably different. Despite this it is still a good song, just unnecessary.
While lyrically and thematically weak I would definitely recommend this album for a feel good and uplifting sonic experience. Or just to add energy to a party playlist.
We’ve made you a playlist with all our favourite albums from the year, enjoy!