- Personnel: Beck Hansen (vocals, acoustic, slide & electric guitars, harmonica, electric piano, celeste, Clavinet, organ, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion); Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar); David Brown (saxophone); Mike Boito (trumpet, organ); Charlie Haden (acoustic bass); Joey Waronker (drums, percussion); Ross Harris.
- Producers: Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato Jr., Brian Paulson, Tom Rothrock.
- Like its creator's freewheeling songwriting process, ODELAY is a monument to wondrously precise pastiche. It's a glowing junkyard of musical styles, absurdist images, distorted samples, postmodern anti-emotions, you name it. Over the course of his three previous albums, Beck tinkered with more traditions and aesthetic approaches than an average cultural-studies professor sees in a career: hip-hop beats, acoustic folk-blues, indie-punk guitar squalls, DIY production, commercial smash! ODELAY accounts for all those things, too, but it also furthers the seamless, rump-shaking sheen of its collage nature, turning process into possible meaning.
- On one hand, the thematic darkness that hangs over most of these songs exposes Beck for the creative doomsayer he is--just another sullen young man with a gift of the native tongues. On the other, the life-affirming irreverence with which he drops harebrained couplets, monologues and call-and-response chants based on designer-jeans brands betrays the glowing confidence of someone in love with all the places the creative process can take you. Grooving all the while, Beck seems like the loving creator of a '90s version of the electric Dylan frenzy. And ODELAY seems sorta like his BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME.
Rolling Stone (p.83) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[F]or Odelay, he hooked up with the Dust Brothers to play around with punk, hip-hop, acoustic folk, bossa nova, Latin soul, mainstream R&B and line-dance country -- there's as much Babyface as Bob Dylan on this record..."
Rolling Stone (4/11/02, p.107) - Ranked #27 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records".
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.63) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (1/23/97, p.44) - Ranked #1 on Rolling Stone's list of the "Ten Best Albums" of 1996.
Rolling Stone (6/13/96, pp.77-78) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...[crams] his encyclopedic knowledge of 20th century musical styles into three- and four-minute nuggets of pure pop....while Beck may appear to be flip in his no-holds-barred approach to music, no other contemporary artist...comes close to his ambitious sense of adventure..."
Spin (p.97) - 4.5 out of 5 stars -- "This splatter painting of breakbeats, electric blues, garage-style kitsch, and Dada versifying still sounds fresh..."
Spin (9/99, p.118) - Ranked #4 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Spin (1/97, p.58) - Ranked #1 on Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums Of '96."
Spin (7/96, p.87) - 10 (out of 10) - "...Just as Dylan created an entire universe around his helplessly strange vocal instrument, Beck uses sound and imagery to turn his congested yelp into the voice of a prophet....It's a beautiful thing."
Entertainment Weekly (6/21/96, p.65) - "...Beck has enlisted the Dust Brothers, the producers responsible for...the Beastie Boys' seminal PAUL'S BOUTIQUE. The result: a pastiche of twangy country licks, hip-hop beats, surrealistic folk, jive-turkey rap, and samples...that further affirms Beck's rock-chameleon identity..." - Rating: A-
Q (10/01, p.63) - Ranked #28 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime"
Q (12/99, p.90) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Q (8/96, p.111) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...A more ambitious individual probably couldn't have made an album as relaxed, funky, stylish and left-of-center as ODELAY....the album...mooches attractively between country, folk and hip-hop..."
Uncut (p.104) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "A '90s cultural landmark....Beck's freakfolk freestyle yields some solid gold nuggets among the jive."
CMJ (1/6/03, p.16) - Included in CMJ's list of "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time"
Vibe (9/96, p.223) - "...Beck goes Hollywood....Drums pounce with blunted park-jam finesse. Turntable-scratched hooks pan whimsically throughout....a more sophisticated Beck relays his own introspective emotions..."
Option (7-8/96, p.89) - "...a brilliant kaleidoscope....a lazy, cruising groove....a sprawling, confident album....Nothing sounds out of place in Beck's world..."
Melody Maker (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #6 on Melody Maker's list of 1996's "Albums Of The Year."
Musician (9/96, p.86) - "...ODELAY is intoxicating, proving Beck to be one of the era's more inventive songwriters. His observations are as catchy as his...songs....ODELAY is largely upbeat, even punk, but occasionally Beck reveals a sad soul under his clown's mask..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #1 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Q (Magazine) (p.120) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's a definition of '90s pop....ODELAY is as cannibalistic as a Tarantino movie: a riot of decontextualised pop-cultural detritus."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.66) - Ranked #10 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "Even better than ODELAY's crazy-quilt sampling...was the dazzling songwriting."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.123) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t was skeetering, excited, a grab bag of ideas."
NME (Magazine) (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #1 in NME's 1996 Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) (6/22/96, p.54) - 8 (out of 10) - "...[Beck] plunges into the deep foreboding lake of received musical wisdom....All around is madness. Beck takes the thinking man's solution and makes music to make sense of it all. Or nonsense, even....Genius means never having to think too hard..."
Blender (Magazine) (p.105) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Against grunge's death knells, Beck's sunny mosaic of sound and style seemed to augur a radically expansive new form."
Paste (magazine) (p.80) - "ODELAY is a pop-art nexus where everything is admissable, and nothing means anything outside of its immediate context -- a fine summary of the 20th century indeed."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.87) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Beck stepped out a true maverick, laying hip-hop vocals on top of country guitar lines in one song, paying equal homage to heavy metal and Serge Gainsbourg in another."