For a bit of what seems to be the inspiration for the sound of Beck’s new single, just look to the mop tops on the cover: If you look closely at the painting in the back of the single’s art, you can make out Paul and Ringo, in their early ’60s hairdos, with Paul’s Hofner bass. In writing the song, Beck seems to have had the Fabs in mind, having crafted a track that borrows a phrase the Fabs used again and again, with a soaring chorus that sounds right out of “Blue Jay Way.”
Of course, the track doesn’t sound quite as dusty as all that, building on a simple two-chord groove that could just as easily be by Spoon or (as Pitchfork suggests) Deerhunter, and featuring plenty of slick production. The reverb-heavy outro morphs into another two-chord progression that sounds more than anything like Grizzly Bear’s “Knife.”
Beck is harder than ever to pin down these days, what with all the video games and sheet music and massive covers of Bowie tunes. In addition to all that, he apparently has two albums coming out, one an acoustic album and another a follow-up to Modern Guilt. This song, which will be released as a 12-inch single this month, sounds like something that wouldn’t have been out of place on that 2008 album, produced with Danger Mouse. Like many of Guilt’s best tracks, it’s a lush update on a retro sound.