SummaryOver a decade of criss-crossing genres makes it easy to forget that Beck's first big hit was, essentially, a rap song. It's not surprising, then, that about half of the songs on 2006's THE INFORMATION are some shade of hip-hop dance-floor funk. And while no one's going to mistake Beck for Young Buck, he brings his own brand of intelligent, laid-back confidence to every track, from the stuttering brilliance of "1000 BPM" to the lolling funk of "Elevator Music" to the lo-fi breakbeat grooves of "Cellphone's Dead" to the 10 minutes of atmospheric chill-out that close the album.
But the presence of Nigel Godrich--who produced both the most beloved (MUTATIONS) and underrated (SEA CHANGES) of Beck's albums--insures that this isn't going to be a one-note affair. Godrich shapes the more pop-leaning songs into low-gloss gems, exercising both imagination and restraint: the intensity of "New Round" comes not from big, fancy production but from multiple layers of the same insistent vocal line. "Think I'm in Love" is a sticky little garage-rocker with a hyper bass line, while "Strange Apparition" is a bit of Laurel Canyon folk-rock amidst all the funk & crunk. It's reassuring to know that on his seventh full-length album, neither Beck nor his best collaborator have run out of fresh ideas.