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listening time: 4m 43s
this is my favorite track from guero, the new album by beck, the 90s pop rock slacker poster child. guero is a great album, and as far as i'm concerned it's at par with his delicious odelay from 1996. inevitably that's the album guero has been most compared to, since they best showcase how beck can swing from one genre to the next (plus the collaboration with the dust brothers). he does so while maintainting a sound that's uniquely his own, not least owing to his voice. beck drags his voice than sings with it, and it works from the hopping hell yes -- which has a catchy bass line layered with scratches, harmonica, and awkward female ad libs -- to the melancholic broken drum, which sounds like it should be in sea change, beck's last album from 2002.
and then there's missing. listen carefully to his vocals here and you'll find that it's full and assured, a departure from the lazy warbling beck has charmed us with since mellow gold's loser. he showed nearly this much confidence in sea change, a collection of funereal acoustic ballads, notably in the track end of the day. his voice in missing is jarring, almost depressive, and he couldn't have done it better for this song, which itself is mature in its acceptance of loss in spite of continued yearning. it's not contradictory; it's honest and universal.
i prayed heaven today would bring its hammer down on me
and pound you out of my head
i can't think with you in it...
something always takes the place of missing pieces
you can take and put together even though
you know there's something missing...
she rides in a car like a queen on a card
and the guns of her mind aim a line
straight at mine to a heart that was broke
complete lyrics here
if missing is a taste of things to come from beck, then his best work is yet ahead of him.