Midnite Vultures

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Midnite Vultures
Studio album by Beck
Released November 16, 1999
Recorded July 1998 – June 1999 at Soft Studios
Genre Alternative rock, funk rock, R&B[1]
Length 58:24
Label DGC
Producer Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers, Tony Hoffer, Mickey Petralia
Beck chronology
Midnite Vultures
Music sample
"Get Real Paid" by Beck
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (83/100)[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[3]
The A.V. Club (positive)[1]
E! Online 5/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly A−[5]
NME (8/10)[6]
Pitchfork Media (8.5/10)[7]
Q 4/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention)[8]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[9]
Yahoo! Music UK 8/10 stars[10]

Midnite Vultures is the seventh studio album by American alternative rock artist Beck, released in November 1999 by Geffen Records. While similar to most of Beck's previous albums in its exploration of widely varying musical styles, Midnite Vultures didn't achieve the same blockbuster success as his breakthrough, Odelay, though it was still critically and commercially well received.


Working titles for the album included Zatyricon (the name of a song released in 2000 as a B-side on the "Nicotine & Gravy" single and later included on the Beck EP) and I Can Smell the V.D. in the Club Tonight (a line from "Milk & Honey").[11]


Midnite Vultures reached #34 in the US, where it went gold, and also hit #19 in the UK. As of July 2008, Midnite Vultures has sold 743,000 copies in the United States.[12]

The first 500,000 copies came in a digipak.


The album was praised by most critics; Rolling Stone, NME and Pitchfork Media gave it four-star reviews (8.5/10 on Pitchfork). It was awarded the status of 'Universal Acclaim' by Metacritic with a score of 83/100, but in 2006 was named the 50th 'Worst Album Ever' by Q, despite the fact that they gave the album four stars.[2][13]

However, one critical review came from Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine. In his review, Erlewine praises the album at first, but then points out "Hollywood Freaks" as an obvious low point on the album, stating that "It's the first on Midnite Vultures to feel like a parody, and it's such an awkward, misguided shift in tone that it colors the rest of the album", and that "for all [of Midnite Vulture's] ingenuity, [Hollywood Freaks suggests] it's just a hipster joke."[3]

Midnite Vultures was nominated in 2001 for Album of the Year at the 43rd Grammy Awards.


Several songs were directly inspired by other songs: "Get Real Paid" features a spiraling sequencer motif reminiscent of Kraftwerk's "It's More Fun to Compute"; a synth breakdown in "Milk & Honey" echoes a similar riff in Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message"; "Beautiful Way" came about after listening to The Velvet Underground's "Countess from Hong Kong"; and "Debra" was inspired by both Prince's hit "Raspberry Beret" and the David Bowie song "Win."

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Beck Hansen, except where noted.

  1. "Sexx Laws" – 3:39
  2. "Nicotine & Gravy" – 5:13
  3. "Mixed Bizness" – 4:10
    • Ends with 25 seconds of noise (described as "robots doing the nasty").[14]
  4. "Get Real Paid" – 4:20
  5. "Hollywood Freaks" (Hansen, John King, Michael Simpson) – 3:59
  6. "Peaches & Cream" – 4:54
  7. "Broken Train" (originally titled "Out of Kontrol") – 4:11
  8. "Milk & Honey" (Hansen, Buzz Clifford) – 5:18
  9. "Beautiful Way" – 5:44
    • Ends with 9 seconds of spray-painting effects.
    • Seemingly inspired by The Velvet Underground's "Countess from Hong Kong," a demo of which appears on the 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See. (Beck's bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen claimed they had been listening to the demo while recording the 1999 B-side "Halo of Gold.")
    • A sample song on Windows Media Player for Windows Millennium Edition.
  10. "Pressure Zone" – 3:07
  11. "Debra" (Hansen, King, Simpson) – 13:46
    • Contains elements of "My Love for You" written by Ed Greene from Ramsey Lewis's 1973 album Funky Serenity.
    • Ends with 7 minutes of complete silence, and then 1:04 of hidden electronic noise (fast-paced drumming, static, a lounge-like synthesizer scape, a reprise of the drumming and static, and some slowed down vocalizations).

Limited Edition bonus disc[edit]

Initial versions sold at Best Buy stores came with a bonus disc that contained three songs.

  1. "Salt in the Wound" – 3:24
  2. "This Is My Crew" – 3:55
  3. "Sexx Laws" (Malibu remix) – 6:52

Although these were part of the original pressings, they came in a standard jewel case. The bonus disc was enclosed in a cardboard sleeve outside the jewel case.

Additional recordings[edit]

The following songs were recorded during the Midnite Vultures sessions but did not make the album. Some appear on the limited edition EP Beck.

  • "Almost a Ghost" (unreleased)
  • "Arabian Nights" (Appeared as a Japanese Bonus Track)
  • "Dirty Dirty"
  • "Earthquake Weather" (At the time an untitled instrumental - Beck came up with lyrics post-9/11 and recorded this new arrangement for Guero).
  • "Midnite Vultures"
  • "This Is My Crew"
  • "Rental Car"
  • "Salt in the Wound"
  • "Zatyricon"


  • Beck – synthesizer, guitar, piano, keyboards, programming, vocals, choir, chorus, producer, vocoder, horn arrangements, mixing
  • David Campbell – viola, string arrangements, string conductor
  • Larry Corbett – cello
  • Joel Derouin – violin
  • Brian Gardner – mastering
  • Bernie Grundman – mastering
  • Greg Leisz – pedal steel
  • Jay Dee Maness – pedal steel
  • Johnny Marr – electric guitar
  • Michael Patterson – mixing
  • Herb Pedersen – banjo
  • Fernando Pullum – horn
  • David Ralicke – trombone
  • Joe Turano – horn, background vocals
  • Arnold McCuller – background vocals
  • Smokey Hormel – guitar
  • Joey Waronker – percussion, drums
  • Beth Orton – background vocals
  • Chris Bellman – mastering
  • The Dust Brothers – scratching, programming, producer, engineer
  • Robert Carranza – string engineer
  • Steve Baxter – horn, background vocals
  • Justin Meldal-Johnsen – synthesizer, bass, guitar, percussion, background vocals, handclapping, shaker, upright bass
  • Steve Mixdorf – second engineer
  • Valerie Pinkston – background vocals
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr. – organ, synthesizer, piano, tambourine, background vocals, choir, chorus, clavinet, percussion, shaker, vocoder
  • Mickey Petralia – programming, producer, engineer, mixing
  • Shauna O'Brien – project manager
  • DJ Swamp – scratching
  • Eve Butler – violin
  • Charlie Gross – photography
  • Arroyo Bombers – choir, chorus
  • Arroyo Tabernacle Men's Chorale – choir, chorus
  • Jon Birdsong – trumpet
  • Derek Carlson – second engineer
  • Eye – artwork, art direction, design, collage
  • Gimbop – layout direction
  • Michel Gondry – collage
  • Tony Hoffer – guitar, programming, producer, engineer, editing, mixing, wah wah guitar, sound design
  • David Arthur Brown – tenor sax


Charts (1999) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 34
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 41
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[17] 32
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[18] 88
French Albums (SNEP)[19] 19
German Albums (Media Control)[20] 46
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[21] 33
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[22] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 29
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 42
UK Albums (OCC)[25] 19
US Billboard 200[26] 34


  1. ^ a b Phipps, Keith (1999-11-23). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  2. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Midnite Vultures". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Midnite Vultures - Beck". Allmusic. 
  4. ^ http://www.eonline.com/Reviews/Facts/Music/RevID/0,1107,1582,00.html[dead link]
  5. ^ Willman, Chris (1999-11-26). "Midnite Vultures Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Album Reviews - Midnite Vultures". NME. November 17, 1999. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  7. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (1999-11-25). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2006-10-23. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Beck". RobertChristgau.com. 
  9. ^ Pareles, Jon (2002-11-27). "Midnite Vultures". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  10. ^ Gilbert, Ben (1999-11-22). "Beck - 'Midnite Vultures'". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on 2004-08-20. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  11. ^ "Beck "Milk and Honey" Lyrics". Whiskyclone.net. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. 2008-07-18. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  13. ^ Q lists - page3
  14. ^ Healy, Mark (1999-11-08). "Beck: The cut-and-paste whiz kid of Odelay grows up and gets in touch with his inner freak". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  15. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "Beck - Midnite Vultures" (In German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures" (In Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  18. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Beck - Midnite Vultures". Charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  22. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "1999-12-04 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Beck Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Beck. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 12, 2014.

External links[edit]