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Studio album by Beck
Released June 18, 1996 (1996-06-18)
Recorded 1994–96
Genre Alternative rock, alternative hip hop,[1] country [2]
Length 54:13
Label DGC, Bong Load Custom
Producer Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato, Jr, Brian Paulson, Tom Rothrock, Rob Schnapf
Beck chronology
One Foot in the Grave
Singles from Odelay
  1. "Where It's At"
    Released: July 11, 1996
  2. "Devils Haircut"
    Released: December 11, 1996
  3. "The New Pollution"
    Released: February 28, 1997
  4. "Sissyneck"
    Released: June 17, 1997
  5. "Jack-Ass"
    Released: 1997

Odelay is the second official studio album and fifth overall by American alternative rock artist Beck, originally released on June 18, 1996, by DGC Records.

Odelay featured several singles, including "Where It's At", "Devils Haircut", and "The New Pollution". The album peaked at #16 on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold over 2 million copies in the United States. It was also Beck's first hit album in the United Kingdom, making #17; it has since gone platinum in the UK.

On January 29, 2008, Odelay was reissued as a two-disc package featuring a number of bonus tracks. As of July 2008, the album had sold 2.3 million copies in the United States, making Odelay the most successful record from Beck to date.[3] Since its release, the album has appeared in numerous publications' lists of the greatest records of the 1990s and of all time.


Musical style[edit]

The sessions for what would become Odelay originally began as a subdued, acoustic affair. In 1994, Beck started to record tracks for his follow-up to Mellow Gold with Bong Load producers Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf. Hansen had recently experienced a number of personal tragedies (including the death of his grandfather, Al Hansen), and the tone of the songs as well as their production were considerably somber. Only a handful of tracks from these sessions have been released: "Ramshackle", "Feather in Your Cap", and "Brother". All three of these songs are acoustic, sparse, and melancholic, and have a haunting sound. He would eventually abandon work with Rothrock and Schnapf, opting to work with the Dust Brothers instead. The Dust Brothers' production style was also hip-hop-focused yet more layered; their résumé included notable work with Beastie Boys, Tone Lōc and Young MC.

Perhaps to counter the aforementioned negative events in his life, he attempted to continue the savant-absurdist slant of his Mellow Gold album (which contained the accidental smash hit Loser) with more obviousness to create intentionally disposable pop songs on Odelay. Predictably many of these were embraced by radio and became the hit singles from the album.

Like Beck's previous album Mellow Gold, Odelay incorporates elements from various genres, including "folk and country, grungy garage rock, stiff-boned electro, louche exotica, old-school rap and noise rock."[4] Additional influences include punk rock, bossa nova, Latin soul and mainstream R&B.[5]

Following this recording Beck then returned to the early sessions' downcast style (albeit different than that shown in One Foot In The Grave which often was filled with gallows humor) with his 1998 follow-up, Mutations and many efforts beyond that since then.

Title and artwork[edit]

The title is a phonetic English rendering of the Mexican slang interjection "órale", which translates roughly to "listen up" or "what's up?" The phrase "odelay" is repeated in the lyrics during the outro of the song "Lord Only Knows". However, according to Stephen Malkmus, the title is actually a play of words on Oh Delay, since the album took very long to record.[6] The album's cover is a photo of a Komondor, a rare Hungarian breed of dog with a heavy, corded coat.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly A−[7]
Pitchfork Media 9.8/10 (1996)[8]
8.5/10 (2008,
deluxe edition)[9]
Robert Christgau A−[10]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[5]
Slant Magazine 5/5 stars[11]

Upon release, Odelay received almost unanimous critical applause. Odelay was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1997, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Where It's At". It was ranked 16 in Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". Odelay was awarded Album of the Year by the American magazine Rolling Stone. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll, and also in NME‍ '​s annual critics poll. In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Odelay the 51st greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 306 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and number 9 on its list of the 100 best albums of the nineties. Voters in Channel 4's 2005 "100 Greatest Albums" poll placed it at number 73. The music website Pitchfork Media ranked it at #19 on their top 100 albums of the 1990s.

Track listing[edit]

Original issue[edit]

All songs written by Beck, John King and Michael Simpson, except where noted.
Produced by Beck Hansen and The Dust Brothers, except where noted.

  1. "Devils Haircut" – 3:14
  2. "Hotwax" – 3:49
  3. "Lord Only Knows" (Beck Hansen) – 4:14
  4. "The New Pollution" – 3:39
  5. "Derelict" – 4:12
  6. "Novacane" – 4:37
  7. "Jack-Ass" – 4:11
  8. "Where It's At" – 5:30
  9. "Minus" (Beck Hansen) – 2:32
    • Produced by Beck Hansen, Mario Caldato Jr. and Brian Paulson.
  10. "Sissyneck" – 3:52
  11. "Readymade" – 2:37
  12. "High 5 (Rock the Catskills)" – 4:10
  13. "Ramshackle" (Beck Hansen) – 7:29
    • Produced by Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf.
    • Includes a hidden track called "Computer Rock"
    • Some non-U.S. versions contain "Diskobox" and/or "Clock" as bonus tracks.

Deluxe Edition[edit]

On January 29, 2008, Odelay - Deluxe Edition was released.[12] The two-disc set contains the original album, plus 19 B-sides, remixes and previously unreleased songs. The liner notes feature complete lyrics and artwork as well as an essay from Thurston Moore and the transcript of 15 high school students interviewed by Dave Eggers. The cover art was deliberately edited to appear as if it was a personalized copy of the album, with stickers carelessly half-ripped off and various doodles on it (such as a face drawn on the dog and rainbows behind it) and including the phrase "Property of Michael" written on the back. The exclusion of "Diskobox" may have been done as a deliberate nod to the cover art having the 'strictly limited edition bonus track' sticker partly torn off.

"Diskobox", which appeared on the original UK and Japanese pressings of Odelay, was not included on the deluxe edition for unknown reasons. The Odelay sessions version of "Debra" (later re-recorded for Midnite Vultures) is also absent, despite initial statements to the contrary.

Some of the bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition (specifically "Deadweight" and "Clock") appear to be from lossy (e.g. MP3) sources. Some of the tracks included have been altered beyond simple remastering.[13] No official explanation for these changes has been given. Some of these alterations are listed below:

First CD:

  1. - "Hotwax" has a more double tracked vocal during the verses
  2. - "The New Pollution" has the same synthesized beeps from the original version, but played at a different pitch
  3. - "Sissyneck" has a slightly extended 'breakdown' part at around 2:00

Bonus CD:

  1. - "Thunderpeel" is folded down to mono from the regular stereo version
  2. - "Electric Music And The Summer People" is an alternate mix
  3. - "Erase the Sun" runs at a faster speed (the original release may be slowed down)
  4. - "Trouble All My Days" is folded down to mono from the regular stereo version[14]
Cover Art for Odelay - Deluxe Edition

Disc 1

  1. "Devils Haircut" - 3:15
  2. "Hotwax" - 3:49
  3. "Lord Only Knows" - 4:15
  4. "The New Pollution" - 3:39
  5. "Derelict" - 4:13
  6. "Novacane" - 4:37
  7. "Jack-Ass" - 4:12
  8. "Where It's At" - 5:30
  9. "Minus" - 2:32
  10. "Sissyneck" - 3:57
  11. "Readymade" - 2:37
  12. "High 5 (Rock the Catskills)" - 4:11
  13. "Ramshackle" - 4:47
  14. "Hidden Track (Computer Rock)" - 0:43
  15. "Deadweight" - 6:12
  16. "Inferno" (previously unreleased) - 7:03
  17. "Gold Chains" (previously unreleased) - 4:59

Disc 2

  1. "Where It's At" (U.N.K.L.E. remix) - 12:26
  2. "Richard's Hairpiece" (remix by Aphex Twin) - 3:19
  3. "American Wasteland" (remix by Mickey P.) - 2:42
  4. "Clock" - 3:17
  5. "Thunder Peel" - 2:40
  6. "Electric Music and the Summer People" - 4:38
  7. "Lemonade" - 2:21
  8. "SA-5" - 1:53
  9. "Feather in Your Cap" - 3:46
  10. "Erase the Sun" - 2:56
    • Sped up from the originally released length of 3:16.
  11. "000.000" - 5:25
  12. "Brother" - 4:47
  13. "Devil Got My Woman" - 4:34
  14. "Trouble All My Days" - 2:25
  15. "Strange Invitation" - 4:06
  16. "Burro" - 3:13

Sampled music[edit]

"Devil's Haircut"
  • "I Can Only Give You Everything" by the MC5 (not direct sample but re-recorded riff looped)
  • "Out of Sight" by Them
  • "Soul Drums" by Pretty Purdie.
"Lord Only Knows"
"The New Pollution"
  • "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by Them
"Where It's At"
  • "Sex for Teens (Where It's At)" by Dr. Stanley Z. Daniels
  • "Needle to the Groove" by Mantronix
  • "I Don't Care If U Disrespect Me (Just So You Love Me)" by The Frogs
  • "Military Scratch - Scratch Mix" by Grand Wizard Theodore
  • "Get Out of My Life, Woman" by Lee Dorsey
"High 5 (Rock the Catskills)"



  • Beck Hansen – acoustic guitar, slide guitar, electric guitar, vocals, harmonicas, bass, drums, percussion, analog keyboards, electric piano, clavinet, organ and celesta
  • Mike Millius – scream (on track 3)
  • Joey Waronker – drums (6, 9), percussion (3, 12, 13)
  • Mike Boito – organ (8, 10, 12), trumpet (8)
  • David Brown – saxophone (8)
  • Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar (10)
  • Charlie Haden – bass (13)
  • Jon Spencer - keychain (14)
  • Ross Harris - “(The Enchanting Wizard of Rhythm)” (Ending of "Hotwax")




Charts (1996) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 20
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 30
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[17] 27
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[18] 27
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[19] 27
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[20] 36
French Albums (SNEP)[21] 39
German Albums (Official Top 100)[22] 30
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[23] 16
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[24] 23
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 5
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 14
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 17
US Billboard 200[28] 16


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[29] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[30] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[32] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/11104-odelay-deluxe-edition/
  2. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/odelay-19960613
  3. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. 2008-07-18. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b AllMusic Review
  5. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (2008-02-07). "Rolling Stone 2008 Review". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  6. ^ "Q&A: Stephen Malkmus on New LP, Beck + More". Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  7. ^ Smith, Ethan (1996-06-21). "Entertainment Weekly Review". Ew.com. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  8. ^ "1996 Pitchfork Media Review". Web.archive.org. 2002-04-15. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  9. ^ "Pitchfork Media 2008 Review". M.pitchfork.com. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  10. ^ "Robert Christgau Review". Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  11. ^ "Slant Magazine Review". Slantmagazine.com. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  12. ^ Beck's Odelay Given Deluxe Reissue Treatment[dead link]
  13. ^ Beck Forum • View topic - Odelay Remastered ??? (or something)[dead link]
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "Beck – Odelay" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "Beck – Odelay" (in Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  18. ^ "Beck – Odelay" (in French). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Beck – Odelay" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Beck: Odelay" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  22. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Beck – Odelay". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  27. ^ "Beck | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  28. ^ "Beck Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Beck. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  30. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Beck – Odelay". Music Canada. 
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Beck – Odelay". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Odelay in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  32. ^ "American album certifications – Beck – Odelay". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]