Colors (Beck album)

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Colors
BeckColors.png
Studio album by Beck
Released October 13, 2017[1][2][3][4]
Recorded 2013–2017
Genre
Length 39:39
Label Capitol
Producer
Beck chronology
Morning Phase
(2014)
Colors
(2017)
Exclusive yellow edition vinyl
BeckColorsExclusiveyellowvinyl.jpg
Singles from Colors
  1. "Dreams"
    Released: June 15, 2015
  2. "Wow"
    Released: June 2, 2016
  3. "Dear Life"
    Released: September 8, 2017
  4. "Up All Night"
    Released: September 18, 2017
  5. "Colors"
    Released: April 10, 2018[8]

Colors is the thirteenth overall studio album by American musician Beck, released on October 13, 2017, by Capitol Records.[1][2][9] The album was recorded between 2013 and 2017, with Beck producing alongside Greg Kurstin. The album's earliest single, "Dreams", was released in June 2015, while three more singles ("Wow", "Dear Life" in Italy and "Up All Night" in the US) were released between June 2016 and September 2017. The title track was also released as a single in April 2018.

Background and recording[edit]

Colors was recorded at Greg Kurstin's Los Angeles studio with Beck and Kurstin playing nearly every instrument themselves between 2013 and 2017.[1][10] Beck described the recording process to music publication NME, saying "for the first year, we were experimenting and there was a lot of trial and error. I was touring constantly while making it, so I was attempting to bring some of that energy back to the studio, which isn't always the easiest thing to do. ‘Dreams’ was one of the early songs to come along and make me think the idea had legs."[10]

Release[edit]

On July 28, 2017, Beck teased the title of his new album by posting a photo of John Baldessari's "Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell" on his Instagram account.[3] His post followed an accidental leak of the title and release date by an online retailer's private pre-order page briefly being set to public viewing.[3][11] On August 11, 2017, Beck officially announced the album would be titled Colors and released in October 2017.[1] The music video for "Up All Night" premiered August 9, 2017 at Hollywood's Arclight Cinemas during an all-day conference for Capitol Records where it was announced it will be released to the public in the near future and be Colors' third official single.[12] "Up All Night" previously appeared in the video game FIFA 17 and was used in a commercial for Fossil smartwatches.[13][14][12]

Themes and influences[edit]

Q described "Seventh Heaven" as a "lost '80s pop classic" and "Dear Life" as “lush Beatles-like psychedelia spiked with an existential cry-for-help for a lyric." Beck told Q that "Dear Life is just about the inevitable turmoil of being alive. Like, can somebody throw me a lifeline here?” [15] The New York Times previewed that "No Distraction” had "a strummy guitar part over a foursquare rock beat, and a chord progression partly cribbed from the Police" and that "Dear Life" was "a late-Beatles-esque existential cry, with a welcome core of oddness within its retro shell."[16] Beck discussed "No Distraction" with Q saying, "Anybody who has a phone or computer lives with the distractions pulling you this way and that. We haven't figured out how to have access to everybody and everything all the time and how it affects us physically and neurologically. Or at least I haven't. My analogy to friends has been that I feel as if somebody has removed the front door of my house, permanently."[15]

In an interview with NME, Beck said "the rest of the album is probably what exists in the range between 'Dreams' at one end and 'Wow' at the other.[10] In an interview with Rolling Stone, he commented further, saying "these are complex songs all trying to do two or three things at once. It's not retro and not modern. To get everything to sit together so it doesn't sound like a huge mess was quite an undertaking."

Singles[edit]

"Dreams" was released on June 15, 2015 as the lead single from an upcoming album, later announced to be titled Colors.[17] The upbeat track was inspired by MGMT and marked contrast to the somber mood of Beck's previous album Morning Phase.[18] Beck said at the time, "I was really trying to make something that would be good to play live."[19] The song was heavily featured on Beats 1, Apple Music's flagship radio station, with 65 plays in July 2015.[20] "Dreams" was ranked among the best songs of 2015 on annual year-end lists by Rolling Stone[21] and Billboard.[22] The single version mix was not included on physical copies of the album. A new mix is included as the album's sixth track. "Dreams" peaked at number two on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart.[23]

"Wow" (sometimes stylized as "WOW") was released on June 2, 2016 as the second single and it was confirmed the new album was scheduled to be released October 21, 2016.[24] That release date was later delayed and scrubbed from Beck's PR site with no explanation given.[25] Beck told KROQ that "Wow" "was completely off the top of my head. I didn't write any of it. It was just us fooling around in the studio. I didn't even mean to release it. I was working on another song and came up with the riff and then I just started freestyling."[24] "Wow" was included on Billboard's 100 Best Pop Songs of 2016" list.[26]

"Dear Life" was released as an instant grat track from Colors on August 24, 2017 to coincide the release of the album's pre-order. It received support at triple-A radio in the United States and was sent to top 40 radio in Italy on September 8, 2017, as the album's third international single.[27][28]

"Up All Night" was released to triple-A radio September 18, 2017, as the album's third single in the United States.[29] It was then sent to alternative radio September 19, 2017.[30] "Up All Night" peaked at number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, becoming Beck's third chart topper and first since 2005's "E-Pro".[31]

"Colors" was sent to alternative radio on April 10, 2018,[8] as the album's fourth single in the United States. A video was released exclusively for Apple Music on March 29, 2018, with special guest Alison Brie and directed by Edgar Wright.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.3/10[32]
Metacritic72/100[33]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[6]
The A.V. ClubB[34]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[35]
Mojo3/5 stars[36]
NME4/5 stars[37]
Pitchfork6.3/10[38]
Q4/5 stars[39]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[40]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[41]
Uncut4/5 stars[42]

Colors received generally positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 72 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews" based on 34 reviews.[33]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Accolade Year Rank Ref.
NME NME's Albums of the Year
2017
30

Commercial performance[edit]

Colors debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 with 46,000 album-equivalent units, of which 41,000 were pure album sales.[44] It is Beck's sixth US top 10 album.[44]

Track listing[edit]

Track listing adapted from iTunes[45]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Colors"
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
4:21
2."Seventh Heaven"
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
5:00
3."I'm So Free"
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
4:07
4."Dear Life"
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
3:44
5."No Distraction"
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
4:32
6."Dreams" (Colors mix)
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
4:57
7."Wow"
  • Hansen
  • M.G.N.
3:40
8."Up All Night"
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
3:10
9."Square One"
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
2:55
10."Fix Me"HansenHansen3:13
Digital download and streaming bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."Dreams" (single version)
  • Hansen
  • Kurstin
  • Wyatt
  • Kurstin
  • Hansen
5:14

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[46] 14
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[47] 25
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[48] 13
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[49] 32
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[50] 4
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[51] 20
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[52] 14
French Albums (SNEP)[53] 56
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[54] 32
Irish Albums (IRMA)[55] 6
Italian Albums (FIMI)[56] 36
Japan Hot Albums (Billboard)[57] 12
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[58] 13
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[59] 8
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[60] 24
Scottish Albums (OCC)[61] 4
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[62] 32
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[63] 9
UK Albums (OCC)[64] 5
US Billboard 200[44] 3
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[65] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[66] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Beck Talks 'Complex' New Pop Opus 'Colors'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "New Beck Album Colors Out 10/13 According To This Pre-Order". Stereogum. July 28, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c TheFutureHeart (August 14, 2017). "New Beck Album 'Colors' Lyric Samples, Tracklist, Song Previews And Other Details". The Future Heart. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Fall Music Preview 2017: The Most Anticipated Upcoming Albums". Variety. August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Beck Teases New Album 'Colors' With Punchy Track 'Dear Life'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (October 12, 2017). "Colors - Beck | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 11, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Review: Beck's Enjoyable Colors Is His Most Professional Pop Album Yet". Spin. Retrieved August 18, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b https://www.allaccess.com/alternative/future-releases
  9. ^ TheFutureHeart (July 28, 2017). "Beck Long-Awaited New Album "Colors" Due Out October 13, 2017 From Capitol Records". The Future Heart. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c "NME". NME. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  11. ^ "New Beck Album Colors Out 10/13 According To This Pre-Order". Stereogum. July 28, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b TheFutureHeart (September 24, 2016). "Stream "Up All Night" From Upcoming Beck Album". The Future Heart. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  13. ^ "New Beck Song "Up All Night" Soundtracks Commercial: Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  14. ^ "That Leaked Beck Song Soundtracks A Fossil Smartwatch Commercial". Stereogum. September 29, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b "Beck's New Prince And Beatles-Influenced Album Release Delayed To 2017". September 22, 2016. 
  16. ^ Caramanica, Jon Pareles, Ben Ratliff, Jon; Chinen, Nate (September 16, 2016). "10 Fall Pop and Jazz Albums (and One Festival) You Shouldn't Miss". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
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