Over the last couple decades, urban sprawl has caused several iterations of malaise to spread through most of centralized America, and Beck has soundtracked each of them. He’s one of America’s musical minor prophets. Wise enough to have something to say worth hearing, and off-kilter enough to drive the point home, whatever it may be. And Odelay was the album when he came into his own; the weirdo loser folkie of Mellow Gold wasn’t going to move the cultural needle, so Beck leveled up, and became, well, Beck.
He’s capital B Beck now, and looking back on Odelay through the lens of the time that’s passed since its release, it’s hard to imagine a world without it. Which is to say, a world without this album would have still existed and probably formed in just about the same way, but the process would have sucked. Completely. Every twist and turn of this Dust-Brothers-orchestrated masterpiece is a reminder of why this is one of the great Getting Over Or Through It albums of the last 20 years. But Beck didn’t so much get any one of us individually as he got what it meant to be modern. What it meant for irony to still mean something. What it meant to want to be someone else or some other version of yourself. And for those reasons, along with many others that you’ll quickly discover if you somehow haven’t already, we think it’s worth every second of the 20 or 30 listens you’ll give it over the next few months.