Nov 8 2011

The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – Sea Change

Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.

34. Beck – Sea Change

In 2002, Beck completely did a 180 and released an album I initially found very upsetting. Well, not initially. It’s still pretty depressing. But in a good way. After hearing the anit-folk of Mellow Gold, the dance rock zaniness of Odelay, the bluesy Mutations, and the boogie-laden Midnight Vultures, I was having a pretty difficult time pinning down the stylings of Beck. He was, and still is, all over the place. He recreates his style with every release. But Sea Change was probably the starkest transformation for the musician. And almost ten years later, it remains my favorite.

Inspired, or maybe tormented, by the breakup with his longtime girlfriend, Beck penned these uncharacteristically un-ironic songs about utter sadness to traditional instrumentation and beautiful string arrangements written by his father. Singles “Lost Cause” and “Guess I’m Doing Fine,” especially the latter, perfectly capture the theme of Sea Change, one of alt-country heartbreak and burgeoning depression. This album is still perfect for comfort after loss, or even just a contemplative drive along a lonesome country road, preferably on the vast, falt terrain that is West Texas.

Listen to Sea Change on Spotify.