You can’t choose a favourite Beck album. I’ve tried many times and failed as many. The man defines mainstream eclecticism. Mellow Gold was Beck’s breakthrough album, and although less famous than the follow-up ‘Odelay’ (a true groundbreaking album), it was the album that had contained a song that defined a generation. From the opening slide guitar riff that was born through an hour of jamming on his guitar with a friend recording, followed by the hip-hop drum beat that the said friend later added, the instant appeal of ‘Loser’ is still relevant today. Despite the fact that Beck reluctantly became the voice of a pubescent stereotyped generation, you can’t deny that this was a great song. The fact that this was one of the first songs Beck ever wrote, and certainly the first he ever rapped on (“Soy un perdedor, I’m a loser baby” was a line born from his embarrassment at his own rapping) just adds to the resume. There’s more to this album than ‘Loser’ though. Knowing what Beck went on to produce, it’s interesting to hear the earlier incarnations of his interpretation of the genres he later went on to utilise. ‘Pay No Mind’ arrives as a welcome, mellow acoustic tune, already ruining any listeners attempt at putting a label on albums style. ‘Mountain Dew Rock’ follows on in the hook-heavy acoustic affair, like “Nitemare Hippy Girl”, with a big sing-along chorus. It’s at this point that the album takes another unexpected turn. It’s hard to describe ‘Whiskeyclone’. Each individual part of the song is pretty weak. A downbeat vocal line, a bizarre guitar part, with many vocal harmonies, you just couldn’t imagine it working. However, this form of alchemy is what Beck is most famous for. As his grandfather did with aesthetic art, Beck has an uncanny knack of making masterpieces from samples that most would discard. The song itself is a gem. Changing the mood again with morbid lyrics and a twisted sound, the last thing you’re expecting next is ‘Soul Suckin’ Jerk’. The second ‘rap’ song on the album, this dark number balances gently on the line of genius/pretentious wank. Being one of the highlights of the album, in my opinion, I think you can guess which side of the line I think Beck’s on. If ‘Whiskeyclone’ was an example of alchemy, then this is alchemy gone mad! Two heavily distorted vocal lines scream across a tribal drum beat and some interesting samples. This song used to be the one that I skipped whenever listening to this album, but give them time! They may be unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, but both songs as worth the persistence and you’ll be rewarded with your hard work with what I believe to be the album’s greatest song, ‘Beercan’. Starting with a heavily effected vocal sample, you’d be reasonable to assume another inaccessible, but within seconds, the bass, drums, sampling and rapping kick in with a song catchier than SARS. I challenge you not to love that chorus! “Steal My Body Home” couldn’t be more laid back if it tried as is ‘Blackhole’. Both going for a more eastern style with sitars and a slow, mesmerising vocal, that you allow you to lie back and feel one with the world. This album doesn’t give you a chance to get bored. I wouldn’t recommend this album to someone who has never heard Beck before, since it is pretty heavy going (For those, I recommend ‘Odelay’ instead), but if you are a Beck fan and don’t own this album, then shame on you! Stand-out tracks : Beercan, Loser, Whiskeyclone, Hotel City 1997
Good grief man! If you don't own this you are a fool! You all know 'Loser' it's been played on the radio for about 8 billion years! Every track on this recording is outstanding from 'Soul suckin jerk' to 'Nitemare hippy girl' country stylings around a rock theme? Since buying this albulm, the track 'Beercan' has become the soundtrack of my life. Seldom has an artist such as Beck been available for you lucky people. Buy this, failing that: get 'Midnight Vultures' by the same artist or as I like to call it 'Mellow gold II' Why are you still reading? Buy it!
Rediscovered the amazing world of beck! It's been so long since I went on holiday to new York as a 17 year old lad and hearing one of his songs in a dinner. I loved it. I immediately rushed out to get his albam and then for several months, played it to death! Until today, whilst roaming through Amazon music store and stumbled across mellow gold! Gold it is!!! I keep listening and listening. Fantastic if your that way inclined and not a radio one, x factor loving conformist.
The first Beck record I bought was Odelay. It was very good. The second album I bought was Midnite Vultures. It was even better. I decided to buy this album, but I was disappointed. The only song of merit is "Loser" which is fantastic. All the other songs are either dull and bland eg "pay no mind (snoozer)" or somewhat unlistenable eg "Motherf**er". The lyrics might be interesting but the music isn't.
I bought this album on ' tape ' way back in the '90s and played it repeatedly for weeks on end . Nearly 20 years on i bought it on CD and it seems as fresh now as it did then if not moreso . An excellent piece of work !