Mellow Gold

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Mellow Gold
MellowGold.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1, 1994
Recorded1992–1993
Genre
Length45:31 (with hidden track)
Label
Producer
Beck chronology
Stereopathetic Soulmanure
(1994)
Mellow Gold
(1994)
One Foot in the Grave
(1994)
Singles from Mellow Gold
  1. "Loser"
    Released: February 4, 1994
  2. "Pay No Mind (Snoozer)"
    Released: April 1994
  3. "Beercan"
    Released: 1994

Mellow Gold is the third studio album by American musician Beck, released on March 1, 1994 by DGC Records. Critics noted the album's hybrid of various styles including rock, hip hop, folk, blues, psychedelia, and country,[3] as well as ironic, witty lyrics. Its decidedly anti-commercial attitude led to it becoming an unexpected commercial success, peaking at number thirteen in the United States and eventually being certified platinum. As of July 2008, Mellow Gold has sold over 1.2 million copies in the United States.[4]

Background[edit]

In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Beck said of the album:

The whole concept of Mellow Gold is that it's like a satanic K-tel record that's been found in a trash dumpster, quite matter-of-factly. A few people have molested it and slept with it and half-swallowed it before spitting it out. Someone played poker with it, someone tried to smoke it. Then the record was taken to Morocco and covered with hummus and tabouli. Then it was flown back to a convention of water-skiers, who skied on it and played Frisbee with it. Then the record was put on the turntable, and the original K-Tel album had reached a whole new level. I was just taking that whole Freedom Rock feeling, you understand.[5]

According to the album's liner notes, Mellow Gold was recorded at Carl Stephenson and Rob Schnapf's houses, predominantly utilizing a four-track.[2]

Album cover[edit]

The robot on the cover of Mellow Gold was created by artist Eddie Lopez, who made a cameo in the music video for the hit song "Loser". The sculpture was named "Survivor from the Nuclear Bomb". The shot was originally taken in Lopez's garage space by Beck's friend as well as early collaborator Ross Harris. The last image was reshot in a studio where Harris was able to control the environment and also add visual effects to make the cover look more apocalyptic.[6]

Title[edit]

The album was originally going to be titled Cold Ass Fashion, sharing its name with an earlier song of Beck’s. The final title used, Mellow Gold, was named after a potent strain of California marijuana.[6]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[3]
Blender4/5 stars[7]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB[9]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[10]
Pitchfork8.8/10[11]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[13]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[14]
The Village VoiceA[1]

Mellow Gold received general acclaim from music critics. AllMusic and Rolling Stone gave it five out of five stars (the latter originally giving it only three and a half).

AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote, "although his inspired sense of humor occasionally plays like he's a smirking, irony-addled hipster, his music is never kitschy, and his wordplay is constantly inspired." He also wrote, "It's a dizzying demonstration of musical skills, yet it's all tied together by a simple yet clever sense of songcraft and a truly original lyrical viewpoint, one that's basic yet as colorful as free verse."[3]

Guitar World magazine ranked Mellow Gold at #4 in their "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Beck (Hansen), except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Loser"Hansen, Carl Stephenson3:55
2."Pay No Mind (Snoozer)" 3:15
3."Fuckin with My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)" 3:41
4."Whiskeyclone, Hotel City 1997" 3:28
5."Soul Suckin' Jerk"Hansen, Stephenson3:57
6."Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs (Yellow Sweat)" 2:55
7."Sweet Sunshine"Hansen, Stephenson4:14
8."Beercan"Hansen, Stephenson4:00
9."Steal My Body Home" 5:34
10."Nitemare Hippy Girl" 2:55
11."Mutherfuker" 2:04
12."Blackhole" (includes hidden track, "Analog Odyssey") 7:33
Total length:45:31

Samples credits[edit]

"Loser"[edit]

"Fuckin with My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)"[edit]

"Soul Suckin' Jerk"[edit]

"Sweet Sunshine"[edit]

"Beercan"[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Beck – vocals, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, electric guitar, bass, harmonica, synthesizers, percussion, producer
  • Mike Boito – organ (track 8)
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Tom Rothrock – producer, mixing
  • Rob Schnapf – producer, mixing
  • Carl Stephenson – producer, beats, sampling, sitar (track 1)
  • Petra Haden – violin (track 12)
  • David Harte – drums (tracks 2, 10, 11)
  • Rob Zabrecky – bass (track 12)
  • Robert Fisher – art direction, design
  • Ross Harris – photography
  • Mike O'Connor – drums

Additional personnel[edit]

  • DJ Smash – turntables

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[27] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] Platinum 1,200,000[4]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (April 5, 1994). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  2. ^ a b thefourohfive.com. "Analog Odyssey: 20 Years of Beck's Mellow Gold". The 405. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Mellow Gold – Beck". AllMusic. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Ask Billboard". Billboard. July 18, 2008. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved July 18, 2008.
  5. ^ Wild, David; Wild, David (April 21, 1994). "Interview: Beck". RollingStone.com. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "10 Things You Might Not Know About Beck's 'Mellow Gold'". Yahoo.com. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  7. ^ Smith, RJ. "Beck: Mellow Gold". Blender. Archived from the original on May 4, 2006. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (March 17, 1994). "Beck's Breadth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Aaron, Charles (March 25, 1994). "Mellow Gold". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  10. ^ Gold, Jonathan (February 20, 1994). "Beck; 'Mellow Gold'; DGC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Powell, Mike (May 3, 2020). "Beck: Mellow Gold". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  12. ^ Azerrad, Michael (May 7, 1994). "Mellow Gold". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Beck". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 55–56. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric (1995). "Beck". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 35–36. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  15. ^ "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994". GuitarWorld.com. July 14, 2014. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  16. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  17. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Beck – Mellow Gold" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  18. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Beck – Mellow Gold" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Beck – Mellow Gold" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Charts.nz – Beck – Mellow Gold". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Beck – Mellow Gold". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  22. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Beck – Mellow Gold". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Beck – Mellow Gold". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Beck | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "Beck Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1994". Billboard. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  27. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Beck – Mellow Gold". Music Canada. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Beck – Mellow Gold". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 18, 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Mellow Gold in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Beck – Mellow Gold". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 18, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]