A Musical Genius Named Beck

A Musical Genius Named Beck

The figure of genius of Beckfor those who are not too familiar with the indie/lo-fi baggage that is inevitably needed to grasp it, can measure it with the “accident” that marked the 2015 edition of the Grammy Awards: when the Los Angeles singer-songwriter was awarded the “Album of the Year” statuette – the most coveted of those awarded at the American music Oscars – for his “Morning Phase” (read the review here) Kanye Westin one of his fits of anger mixed with insane enthusiasm, rushed onto the stage to snatch the award from his hands, claiming that the honor, for reasons that were more than obvious but of which only he was aware, deserved it. Beyonce.

Look carefully at the video. A threatening Kanye West first he approaches, then – realizing his thin figure in front of the world – he immediately backs away. He, instead of looking at the intruder with hatred and suspicion, almost runs after him, inviting him to return to the stage.

A few days later international rock stars mobilized, obviously in favor of the voice of “Loser” who, at this point, was no longer such a “loser”. Shirley Manson of the Garbage resulted in a harsh reprimand against Kanye, and Gene Simmons of the Kisseven, invited the singer of “Devil’s Haircut” to “kick the annoying competitor in the balls”.

Even before receiving the solidarity of his colleagues, he closed the matter in a few words with enviable elegance: “I was thrilled to see Kanye West coming towards me. He deserves to be on stage more than anyone else. And how many great albums has Beyoncé released in the last five years? She should have won, not me. Come on, guys! It’s Beyoncé. I don’t hold it against Kanye, really: I still consider him a genius”.

The real difference between Beck and many other artists, even if good and deserving, is precisely this: he has talent, class and boundless ability, but he has never worried about making them count. Indeed, he has always tried to leave them in the background, as if they were a necessary and sufficient requirement to do the job he does – and they should be, yes: but in these times… – preferring to hide them behind a patina of subtle irony, the only true fil rouge in a career so multifaceted that it deserves pages and pages of commentary, which would also be pleonastic. To celebrate his 54th birthday we thought we’d offer you a summary of the fundamental stages that led one slacker – that’s what they called themselves in the 1990s, those who were so pissed off that they didn’t even have the strength (or the desire) to take refuge in the nihilism of grunge – destined for a career as a perennial outsider to be one of the clearest and most authoritative voices of modern American singer-songwriters.

Beck David Campbell he is the son of art: his father, David Campbellis a well-known arranger and conductor, who in addition to having collaborated several times with his son has accompanied artists such as Adele, Muse, Linkin Park, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus And Dream Theaterwhile his mother, Bib Hansenis a figurative artist who grew up at the legendary Factory in Andy Warhol.

Art is not only the master of the Los Angeles singer-songwriter’s DNA, but also of his private life: his historical partner Beck she was the designer Leigh Lemon. Once the relationship ended, in 2002, Beck he found love again in Marissa Ribisi, twin sister (and also an actress) of the actor John Ribisi. A curiosity: the midwife who delivered the two future Hollywood star brothers was none other than… Bib Hansenthe mother of Beckwho in addition to having artistic skills also has paramedical training in his professional background.

Although he has been a Scientologist for years—”There’s nothing special about it, you know, just a great concern for humanitarian causes,” he said—Beck was raised Jewish, his mother, Bibbe, being of part Jewish descent. “The first time I got drunk was at a Passover,” he explained to Plotz: “My mother had invited all her non-Jewish friends, and there was a great festive atmosphere.”

The theme for the hit TV series “Mad Men” was supposed to be written and recorded by Beck. At least, that was their hope. They asked him several times, always hearing an inexorable refusal: “I mean, they’re really making a TV show about sixties advertisers? And I’m supposed to write an essay about it? I don’t think so, man…” was his response to the producers.

Self-irony has always been part of the artistic vision of Beck: the Los Angeles singer-songwriter has the merit of never taking himself too seriously, and of doing so in an extremely pleasant way for the public. Guest at the David Letterman Showin 2006, the artist hosted on stage none other than Sacha Baron Cohenin the role of the Kazakh reporter Boratas an additional musician. Only the previous year, in 2005, Beck had the comedian intervene during one of his shows in LA Will Farrell.

In 2009 Beck he started the Record Club project: the aim was to record, in a single day and with the support of a variable-assembly band, the reinterpretation of an entire album of importance in the history of rock. Among the works honored by the artist are “The Velvet Underground & Nico” of the Velvet Underground, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” Of Leonard Cohen, “Kick” of the INXS And “Yanni Live at the Acropolis” Of John.

Not just music for cinema: Beckin addition to having signed songs for the soundtracks of feature films such as “The Twilight “Saga: Eclipse” And “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”also wrote three songs for the video game “Sound Shapes”, created by Jonathan Mak and Shaw-Han Liem for the Playstation Vida console.

Besides being a prolific artist in his own right, Beck boasts a vast and highly respectable curriculum of collaborations: as a producer, author or even just as a simple guest, the voice of “Loser” has had dealings with – among others – Black Flag, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Emmylou Harris, Marianne Faithfull, Macy Gray, Pink, Pearl Jam, Air, Sia, White Stripes, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus, Philip Glass, Chemical Brothers, M83 and Flume.

While most of his colleagues appeared in “The Simpsons”, Beck He was indeed sucked into Matt Groening’s universe but not the one populated by Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie: the artist made a virtual appearance in “Futurama” duetting with Bender in the 2001 episode “Bendin’ in the Wind”.