Gamma Ray (song)

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"Gamma Ray"
Single by Beck
from the album Modern Guilt
B-side "Bonfire Blondes" / "Gamma Ray (Jay Reatard Version)"
Released 11 August 2008[1]
30 September 2008 (Digital Download)[2][3]
Format Digital Download 7" Vinyl CD
Genre Indie rock, garage rock
Length 2:58
Label XL Recordings
Writer(s) Beck
Producer(s) Danger Mouse & Beck
Beck singles chronology
"Gamma Ray"
Alternative covers
Cover for the "A" version
Cover for the "B" version

"Gamma Ray" is a song by Beck. It is seemingly inspired by the surf rock songs of the 1960s, but with ghostly moans and lyrics on the state of the world. It was released as the second single from his album Modern Guilt on August 11, 2008. The title refers to gamma rays, biologically hazardous energy emitted by radioactive decay. Despite its up-tempo beat, the song lyrics invoke nihilistic or apocalyptic themes, including melting ice caps, boredom, burning houses, crowns of thorns, and natural disasters. The single peaked at #19 on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. This song was #6 on Rolling Stone‍ '​s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008.[4] The single releases of the song feature a cover of the song by garage punk musician Jay Reatard and a non-album song entitled "Bonfire Blondes" as B-sides, both of which are available on iTunes.[5][6]

The song is included as a playable track in the video game Guitar Hero 5 and was used in Tony Hawk: Ride. Both the A side and B side album covers make use of a Houndstooth pattern.

Track listings[edit]


  1. "Gamma Ray" (2:58)
  2. "Gamma Ray" (2:59) (cover by Jay Reatard)


  1. "Gamma Ray" (2:58)
  2. "Bonfire Blondes" (2:25)

Music video[edit]

The 1st version of the music video, directed by Jess Holzworth, features actress and style icon Chloë Sevigny. The 2nd version, involves scenes of abstract imagery (most in black and white). There is film of Beck standing amidst many people dressed in white with white boxes on the heads. There is also film of mouths and eyes, and a woman with an afro.


  • Beck Hansen - Vocals, guitars, electric piano, producer, songwriter
  • Danger Mouse - Beats, keyboard bass, producer


  1. ^ "Disco Quebrado - Beck Discography - Gamma Ray". 2008-08-11. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  2. ^ "Bonfire Blondes: Beck: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  3. ^ "Gamma Ray: Beck: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  4. ^ No byline (December 25, 2008). "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
  5. ^ "Bonfire Blondes - Single by Beck - Download Bonfire Blondes - Single on iTunes". 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  6. ^ "Gamma Ray (Jay Reatard Version) - Single by Beck - Download Gamma Ray (Jay Reatard Version) - Single on iTunes". 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  7. ^ "Beck | Jay Reatard". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  8. ^ "Beck: Gamma Ray b|w Bonfire Blondes: 7". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 

External links[edit]