By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
Key Tracks: “Colors”, “Dreams”
New drinking game: Take a shot every time the word “colors” is said in a track on this record. Good luck.
Beck‘s thirteenth album, Colors, is an album he’s has been working on since 2013. While the album is a pretty cohesive collection of pop songs, it’s also cohesively boring and doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.
The album opens with title track, which is a dependent on effects and unintelligible lyrics. It has an 80s new-wave vibe, but something about the execution seems a little off, especially with instrumentals that sound like a pan flute. The first track can’t find a riff or effect that it wants to focus on, so it just uses all of them. It works, but barely. “Seventh Heaven” is the same way – a five-minute track that is just a sort of dreamy pop amalgam. It’s okay, but it’s too long, the riffs are not that strong and the lyrics don’t match the breezy feel that the instrumentals have.
“I’m So Free” doesn’t match the tone of the other tracks on the album, opening with a spoken word section and moving into a more musically filled out chorus. The lyrics are as simple as a repetition of “I’m so free” over and over again. “Dear Life” sounds peppy and upbeat in the instrumentals, and is reminiscent of The Beatles, especially in the use of piano and guitar. It’s not horrible, but it’s not genius by any means.
The biggest problem with this album is the cookie-cutter songs that make the tracks indistinguishable from any other soft pop album. “No Distraction” is a good example of this; the riff is simple, the lyrics forgettable and honestly no different from many of the indie-pop tracks out there. While many of the tracks with a pop feel are forgettable, the tracks that are more rock-based, like “Dreams” bring a little more funk and color to an otherwise gray album. It’s a little strange that a remix of “Dreams” is halfway through the album, but it helps to give listeners a break before plunging into the truly awful “Wow”.
Apparently, Beck himself didn’t really like this track. “Wow” is a trash heap of questionable sound effects, a kinda-cool-but-not-cool-enough beat and a little kid saying “Wow! What a beautiful day!” in a warped siren effect. It’s supposed to be rap? Or something like that? The lyrics are bizarre, unfunny and overall cringy; it’s like if your dad tried to make a hip-hop track and failed miserably.
“Up All Night” is another pop song right out of the mold, and kind of sounds like The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”. It’s radio ready, but it’s just so bland; “Square One” and “Fix Me” are the same way. The album finishes with the most rock-driven track “Dreams,” which is good, but not enough to save this album.
Colors is pop mediocrity. It’s like a shrug in Beck’s discography, being completely forgettable and missing a lot of what Beck has to offer.