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Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Fun with stickers
Beck's new CD, The Information, comes packaged with a book of stickers and a blank cover. Sure, I could have downloaded the album off iTunes but that wouldn't have helped me pass the time while stuck at the office on a slow Columbus Day. I spent part of my work day (actually, more like work night) tinkering with a copy I picked up at Everyday Music. Compliments of the not-so awesome power of my cell phone's camera, here's what I came up with:
You know what you don't see enough of anymore? CD covers that look like they've been transported through time from the face of a mid-70s prog rock album. Where's the Tolkien-seque imagery nowadays? The flying saucers and starscapes? The, in the parlance of 1970s stoner-speak, the "trippy"? You can't gobble psychedelic mushroom and stare at something like this all night.
Fortunately, with the stickers I could turn the cover of my copy of the The Information into something worthy of Boston's S/T or at least Journey's Evolution. Who needs the title of the album or even the artist's name when you've got a chick about to take on a fortress full of unicorns and lightening bolts with a reel-to-reel tape player? Did Beck want his music to conjure up imagery that mixes one part Dark Side of the Moon with one part Jim Henson's Labyrinth? If not, he should have chosen these stickers more carefully.
For the inside cover? The title of the disc and...a bunch of freaky monsters fighting over who has dibs on a flying monkey. Lyrics? Information on the production? A copyright date? I don't need 'em.
So what did my copy of The Information still need? What was it lacking? Why, the names of the songs, of course.
And partial nudity. Thanks for the semi-naked lady sticker, Beck. Obviously my version of The Information's cover is filled with more hidden subtext and riddles than the covers of Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper combined. Feel free to gorge yourself on psychedelics and stare at these blurry cell phone photos until you discover the meaning of life*.
As for the music, I was disappointed. The Information seems like Beck's attempt to remake Radiohead's Kid A. It's his spacey, "deep" album meant to either change the world or encourage his fans to put on headphones and stare at the glow-in-the-dark stars on bedroom ceilings. There's several great tracks on the first half but the entire thing buckles and eventually breaks under the weight of its own seriousness and producer Nigel Godrich's bleeps and blurps. One five minute track with spare instrumentation and semi-spoken words vocals is one thing but three or more likely to inspire yawning than introspection. There's even a track on the album, the incredibly grating "1000BPM," that sounds like a combination of "Revolution # 9" and something off Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.
When it comes to self-indulgence, I'd rather do it myself. Now where did that sticker booklet go? I've got a hankering to remix the cover of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It could use more flying monkeys. And nipples.
* The proprietor of Welcome to Blog does not endorse hallucinogens, not even whip-its or spinning around really, really fast. If you somehow turn yourself into an acid casualty while looking at these photos, please don't sue.