Sunday, August 29, 2010

90s Jams #77: Beck "Asshole" (1994)

Certainly, of his three 1994 albums, One Foot errs in favor of the sincere, partially due to those folk-blues covers, but also in its overall hushed feel, its muted acoustic guitars and murmured vocals suggesting an intimacy that the words don't always convey. Much of the album is about mood as much as song, a situation not uncommon to Beck, which is hardly a problem because the ramshackle sound is charming and the songwriting is often excellent, channeling Beck's skewed sensibilities into a traditional setting, particularly on the excellent "Asshole," which is hardly as smirking as its title. It's that delicate, almost accidental, balance of exposed nerves and cutting with that sets One Foot in the Grave apart from Beck's other albums; he'd revisit this sound and sensibility, but never again was he so beguilingly ragged. - Allmusic

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