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Beck in an Acoustic Groove

Single: Thinking About You

Artist: Beck

Release Date: February 10th, 2023

Label: UMG Recordings

Beck has always been an artist who seems to be on the cutting edge of funky sounds that can still be turned into major pop successes. Recording all of the instrumentation on a track, it is truly amazing to see how his mind puts it all together. In 2017, we saw a different side of Beck. With the release of Colors, Beck was almost taunting the music world because he seemed to effortlessly create an extremely successful pop album. In the fall of 2022, Beck released a cover of Neil Young’s Old Man. Now, on February 10th of 2023 he releases a new single and it is undoubtedly influenced by Young’s music.

Thinking about you is a relaxed acoustic tune that brings you back to his other work on the albums Morning Phase and Sea Change. Beyond just that, this new song feels even more stripped down than those two albums. The opening starts with a mellow acoustic guitar riff that feels very inviting. You can hear the buzzing of the strings on some notes and it sets a calm and sentimental mood. As the song progresses, subtle bass lines begin and it gives the song more depth. The unmistakable sign of Neil Young influence is heard in the harmonica that cuts clearly through to the listener. The final delicate touch in the instrumentals is a very quiet violin or viola that is used sparingly. All these instruments are centered on the acoustic guitar riff and they help to draw the listener to the vocals.

The lyrics are melancholy and tell a story of longing for someone who is long gone. They discuss the “movies” that someone sees in their mind when they miss someone. He talks about the need to believe in something even if it isn’t true. This gives the lyrics a genuine feel and suggests he is grasping at anything to hold onto during a difficult time. If you only know Beck from his album Colors, the emotions of these lyrics may seem out of place. However, Beck has been singing these impassioned lyrics for multiple decades now sprinkled throughout his discography. In songs like Loser, these lyrics feel more sarcastic because of their presentation and the surrounding instrumentals. But, tracks like Golden Age, off his 2002 album Sea Change, evoke similar feelings to this latest single.

Thinking About You is perfect for an easy listen and also has many beautiful elements upon closer inspection. It highlights emotions felt by everyone at points during their lives. I really appreciate this more delicate approach from Beck and while this single came out of nowhere, I await anxiously to see if this yields a full length album influenced by the work of Neil Young.

Reviewer Name: Ellis Laveen

Date of Review: February 27th, 2023

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