Midnite Vultures

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Midnite Vultures
BeckMidniteVultures.jpg
Studio album by Beck
Released November 23, 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
Mutations
(1998)
Midnite Vultures
(1999)
Beck
(2001)
Singles from Midnite Vultures
  1. "Sexx Laws"
    Released: October 25, 1999
  2. "Mixed Bizness"
    Released: March 7, 2000
  3. "Nicotine & Gravy"
    Released: July 2000
Music sample
"Get Real Paid" by Beck

Midnite Vultures is the fourth official studio album and seventh overall by American alternative rock artist Beck, released in November 1999 by DGC 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.

Recording[edit]

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").[2]

Influences[edit]

Several songs were directly inspired by other songs: "Get Real Paid" features a spiraling sequencer motif reminiscent of Kraftwerk's "Home Computer"; 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."

Release[edit]

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.[3]

The first 500,000 copies came in a digipak.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 83/100[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[5]
Alternative Press 5/5[6]
Entertainment Weekly A−[7]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars[8]
NME 8/10[9]
Pitchfork Media 8.5/10[10]
Q 4/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[12]
Select 5/5[13]
Uncut 4/5 stars[14]

Midnite Vultures was praised by most critics, and the album holds a score of 83 at Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[4] Jon Pareles of Rolling Stone remarked that on Midnite Vultures, Beck "plays the insider, riding the executive plane through the good life with every need fulfilled."[12] Richard Cromelin of the Los Angeles Times wrote that he gives the album "a cinematic richness, depth and detail with an array of mutations and surprises, from banjo hoedown to electronic effects".[8] The NME felt that the album, while narrower in scope than Odelay, is "more immediate in impact".[9]

Q praised Midnite Vultures as an often "musically dazzling" album, while noting that "the one criticism that can be still levelled at Beck is that his songs remain strangely soulless, failing to ever really grip the emotions or stir the soul."[11] In a mixed review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic states that while the album's initial songs are "tight, catchy, and memorable, the production dense", the "awkward, misguided shift in tone" of "Hollywood Freaks" gives the rest of the album the impression that "for all the ingenuity, it's just a hipster joke."[5] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice felt that "his problem isn't that he tries to be funny, but that his jokes are as forced as his horn charts",[15] later giving it a one-star honorable mention rating and remarking that it "does eventually get funky, if anybody cares but me."[16]

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

In 2006, Midnite Vultures was named the 50th "Worst Album Ever" by Q, despite the fact that they gave the album four stars.[17] Conversely, in 2013, NME ranked the album at number 307 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Beck Hansen, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Sexx Laws"   3:39
2. "Nicotine & Gravy"   5:13
3. "Mixed Bizness"   4:10
4. "Get Real Paid"   4:44
5. "Hollywood Freaks" (Hansen, John King, Michael Simpson) 3:59
6. "Peaches & Cream"   4:54
7. "Broken Train"   4:11
8. "Milk & Honey" (Hansen, Buzz Clifford) 5:18
9. "Beautiful Way"   5:44
10. "Pressure Zone"   3:14
11. "Debra" ("Debra" ends at 5:42, an untitled hidden track starts at 12:42) 13:46

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 as well as other singles from the album.

  • "Almost a Ghost" (unreleased)
  • "Arabian Nights" (Appeared as a Japanese Bonus Track)
  • "Dirty Dirty"
  • "Earthquake Weather" (initially an untitled instrumental, later reworked for Guero utilizing elements of the original version)
  • "Midnite Vultures"
  • "This Is My Crew"
  • "Rental Car" (later reworked for Guero utilizing elements of the original version)
  • "Salt in the Wound"
  • "Zatyricon"

Personnel[edit]

  • 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
  • SA

Charts[edit]

Charts (1999) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 34
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[20] 41
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 32
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[22] 88
French Albums (SNEP)[23] 19
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[24] 46
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[25] 33
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[26] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[27] 29
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[28] 42
UK Albums (OCC)[29] 19
US Billboard 200[30] 34

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[31] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phipps, Keith (November 23, 1999). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Beck "Milk and Honey" Lyrics". Whiskyclone.net. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. 2008-07-18. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b "Reviews for Midnite Vultures by Beck". Metacritic. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Midnite Vultures – Beck". AllMusic. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Alternative Press (137): 81. December 1999. 
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (November 26, 1999). "Midnite Vultures". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Cromelin, Richard (November 21, 1999). "Beck Reaches Deeper but Keeps Party Spirit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Midnite Vultures". NME. November 17, 1999. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (November 25, 1999). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Q (159): 124–25. December 1999. 
  12. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (December 9, 1999). "Midnite Vultures". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  13. ^ Lowe, Steve (December 1999). "Pretty fly for a white guy". Select (114): 84–85. 
  14. ^ Aiken, Kit (December 1999). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Uncut (31). 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 22, 2000). "Flak on Both Sides". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Beck: Midnite Vultures". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ Q lists - page3
  18. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time: 400–301". NME. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Beck – Midnite Vultures". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  29. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  30. ^ "Beck – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Beck. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  31. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Music Canada. 
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Midnite Vultures in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Beck – Midnit Vultures". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]