Midnite Vultures

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Midnite Vultures
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 23, 1999
RecordedJuly 1998–June 1999
StudioSoft Studios and PCP Labs, Los Angeles
Beck chronology
Midnite Vultures
Stray Blues
Singles from Midnite Vultures
  1. "Sexx Laws"
    Released: October 25, 1999
  2. "Mixed Bizness"
    Released: March 7, 2000
  3. "Nicotine & Gravy"
    Released: August 22, 2000

Midnite Vultures is the seventh studio album by American recording artist Beck, released on November 23, 1999 by DGC Records. While similar to most of Beck's previous albums in its exploration of widely varying styles, it did not achieve the same blockbuster success as his breakthrough album Odelay, but was still critically acclaimed and commercially successful.


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]


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 song "Adore" and the David Bowie song "Win".


Midnite Vultures reached number 34 in the US, where it went gold, and also hit number 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.

A thirty-second segment of "Beautiful Way" has been bundled with Windows ME as a demo song for Windows Media Player 7, under the name "beck.asf". The song showcased Media Player's Internet integration by displaying a clickable image link.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[5]
Alternative Press5/5[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[7]
The Guardian3/5 stars[8]
Los Angeles Times4/4 stars[9]
Q4/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[13]

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."[13] 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".[9] The NME felt that the album, while narrower in scope than Odelay, is "more immediate in impact".[10]

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."[12] 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.[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 tracks written by Beck Hansen, except where noted.

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" (Ed Green, Hansen, John King, Michael Simpson; "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"


  • 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 (1999) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 34
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[20] 41
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 32
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[22] 26
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[23] 88
French Albums (SNEP)[24] 19
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 46
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[26] 33
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[27] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[28] 29
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[29] 42
UK Albums (OCC)[30] 19
US Billboard 200[31] 34


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[32] Platinum 100,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[33] Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  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. ^ Cox, Tom (November 12, 1999). "Arty like it's 1999". The Guardian.
  9. ^ a b Cromelin, Richard (November 21, 1999). "Beck Reaches Deeper but Keeps Party Spirit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Cameron, Keith (November 17, 1999). "Beck – Midnite Vultures". NME. Archived from the original on August 18, 2000. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  11. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (November 25, 1999). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Doyle, Tom (December 1999). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Q (159): 124–25. Archived from the original on January 29, 2000. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (December 9, 1999). "Midnite Vultures". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  14. ^ Lowe, Steve (December 1999). "Pretty fly for a white guy". Select (114): 84–85.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 22, 2000). "Flak on Both Sides". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Beck: Midnite Vultures". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-24560-2.
  17. ^ "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists." Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  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. ^ "Listen - Danmarks Officielle Hitliste - Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark - Uge 48". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 1999-12-05.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Lescharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Beck – Midnite Vultures". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  27. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  29. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  30. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  31. ^ "Beck Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  32. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures". Music Canada.
  33. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Midnite Vultures in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  35. ^ "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]