In last week’s Grammy, A&E Editor Mason Walker lamented that “Beyonce was a little jipped,” and that Beck won the Album of the Year category for an LP that was an “echo” of his better work.
Here, Rachel fires back, defending Beck against all who diss his Grammy win””and his career.
Beyonce, Imma let you finish, but”¦
After the Grammys last week, the Internet basically exploded when Beck won Album of the Year instead of Beyonce. My first reaction to that explosion was incredulous. Seriously? Get over it.
Beyonce is great. I think she is an incredible woman, as I’m sure many of you do””although I won’t claim to worship at the throne of Queen Bey. And I absolutely agree that she is an amazing performer.
But that’s just it: Beyonce is a performer. She is not a musician. That title is taken by Beck, and his incredible talent deserved to be recognized two decades ago.
“Morning Phase,” for which he won Album of the Year, is only the latest””and perhaps not even the greatest””work of art in Beck’s repertoire, which began in the mid-90s with “Mellow Gold.” It’s time his artistry gained recognition.
I suppose some of you may be wondering who this Beck dude is. Well, he generally defies genre labels, so let’s call him an alternative rocker who incorporates elements of blues, rap, funk, folk and, quite honestly, almost anything else.
His sophomore effort, “Odelay,” truly put him on the map, earning several Grammy nominations and a couple of wins (but not, of course, Album of the Year). For years, Beck has maintained steady success while floating slightly under the popular radar. No longer.
So what makes Beck such a great musician? For one thing, he has incredibly diverse talents. His instrumental skills extend beyond standard guitar-and-vocals abilities; I’m sure many of you have seen the viral graphic comparing Beck’s 16 instruments on “Morning Phase” to the number of contributors on Beyonce’s “Beyonce.”
Obviously, I can’t confirm the truth of that claim, but Beck has constantly proven his instrumental scope for the past 20 years. Just compare the rawness of “Odelay” to the psychedelic introspection of “Sea Change” or the tight-knit delivery of “Modern Guilt.” Endless variety.
In addition to his impressive instrumental diversity, Beck is also a brilliant songwriter. His lyrics provide endless explorations of language, frequently verging on the metaphorical with songs like “Walls” (“Modern Guilt”) and “Blackbird Chain” (“Morning Phase”).
I mean, I pride myself on digging into the meaning behind the lyrics, but Beck’s songs are often so complex and deep that I’m completely lost””and it’s a great feeling.
From the crunchy guitars, eccentric sounds and deadpan vocals of “Odelay” to the intricate melodies and complex, delicate lyrics of “Morning Phase,” Beck’s music never fails to offer something new.
I’d rather be constantly startled by the music in Beck’s body of work than grow comfortable with Beyonce’s reliably good yet unsurprising albums. Yeah, I said that. These two artists’s talents lie in different areas; Beck’s just happened to land him Album of the Year.
Maybe Beck finally won his Grammy because the music industry realized what was missing during the long years between his albums. Maybe it took a bit of a disappearance for us””and the Grammy voters””to value his music.
Or maybe””dare I hope?””the industry hasn’t lost sight of what matters amid the flashy showmanship of today’s performance-oriented music. Devotion to the music alone is, to quote Beck himself, “Where it’s at.”
Rachel Pauerstein is a Copy Editor for the Trinitonian. She is a senior english and economics major from San Antonio, Texas.