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on 28 November 2013
Good producer of work over the year's, funky and cultured. A lot of change between each of his albums which brings you back to a man that keeps re innovating. recommend for a night out.
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on 20 December 1999
Want to hear what sort of a sound Prince would have made if he had been born white? Beck's latest foray will certainly fill that gap! Stuffed to the brim with funky little anecdotes, some dead cheap guitar work and fortifying the whole cocktail with snappy, elastic jazz bass playing that will nail you to the seat unless you get up and boogie, Midnite Vultures hosts some of the most funked up, bluesiest guitar playing you'll hear from awhite guy this side of 1974. Beck's also revelling in-newly found sleaze -- and its a treat for the listener.
Now this is *not* a low-fi extravaganza. There's a lot of very precisely recorded material stuffed onto this disk that will keep you reaching for the volume knob. Percussion fills are honed to the point almost painful precision while the initially incongruous addition of cheap 60s synths makes the Jackson 5 falsetto laughable if it wasn't all so good. Beck's characteristic guitar work and doubled (and tripled!) voices slide around the 11-song soundscape depicting a world of cheap hookers, scam merchants and odd chracters that appear around almost every corner. There's hommage to The Osmonds (love that Crazy Horses riff!), the O-Jays, and Grand Master Flash to be found in just about every track -- if you listen hard enough.
Throughout Midnite Vultures are big, fat funky horn stabs and guitar chops that keep the mood sleazy enough for even the most cynically entrenched techno listener. Your journey starts with the relative hard techno and stax-style soul combination of Sexx Laws through to the distortion and railyard clatter of Broken Train "did you ever let a cowboy sit on your lap? (ladies)"... Ending with a beautiful but untitled Track 12.
Following on from Beck's spectacular Odelay! Midnite Vultures takes what he's started and continues to develop it. Midnite Vultures is an excellent showcase for Beck's continued growth as a songwriter. Its a cheap throwaway thrill, but even Beck's cheapest thrill carries a fine melody when its done right.
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on 3 January 2000
Beck's music has always been characterised by the effortless fusion of diverse musical genres, while still retaining an unmistakeable Beck blueprint. Having wowed all and sundry with his masterpiece Odelay, and then hinted at a more introspective side with Mutations, Midnite Vultures sees Beck slipping into a lurid purple catsuit and getting all dirty funky on our asses.
From the joyous horn ejaculation of single 'Sexx Laws' right through to the gorgeous tongue-in-cheek Prince pastiche of 'Debra', Beck is having a lot of fun and it's difficult not to get carried away by it all. Between these two beauties we're treated to electro, rock, folk, funk and hip-hop. In particular, the standout 'Hollywood Freaks' is utterly, utterly fantastic and very funny. He's got groove in his heart.
Some may question Beck's authenticity, wondering whether he puts any of himself into the music: it's easy to feel insecure when listening to this record, uncertain whether you've been reeled in by some bad joke. Beck does tend to come across at times like some clever spoilt brat. He's smart and mischievous, smashing up post-modern culture into spiky and difficult pieces before deftly rebuilding them into beautiful and complex musical shapes. He speaks a strange language, is simultaneously happy and sad, knows who he is yet constantly toys with his identity, and wears so many colours that they eventually become back and white. And this time the black and white reads 'Genius at Work'. Get down or get out.
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on 27 November 1999
This album took me by surprise. I was a casual fan of Beck until I heard Sexx Laws and bought Midnite Vultures on the strength of that. It's fun, inventive, experimental, and poppy all at once. Beck throws current and past musical styles together without appearing at all retro. This album is distinctively Beck but at the same time is like a weird hall of mirrors in which if you look one way you see(hear?) Talking Heads, if you look another way you see Prince, then Motown, Nirvana (on "Pressure Zone") and Dylan, not to mention a plethora of hip-hop artists. It's lyrically clever but above all great fun.
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on 12 March 2008
This, I think, is still Beck's finest musical excursion to date. I've read a lot of the other reviews, and I understand some people's reservations about it, and that they prefer other Beck records, but this one is just a maze of audacious musical twists and turns. The attention to detail is just astounding. A while ago I read that Beck would spend 8 hours making just 16 seconds of the music on this record. It shows. It's so intricate, there are so many sounds and frequencies intertwining yet never getting lost, never growing confused, never sounding out of place that I can't help but be amazed.

When I heard comparisons to Prince on it's release I wasn't thrilled. But you don't have to like that style of music to enjoy this record. This record transcends genre, and is thrilling to those who are fascinated by the possibilities of music. It contains some of the most creative music I have ever heard, but don't worry if you don't like it - it's ok, you're just wrong. Criticising Beck (like criticising the Beastie Boys or Neil Young), is like saying to God, "yeah, I like mountains, trees and rivers... but wasps!?! They're just crap!"
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on 23 June 2000
Chameleons change to blend into their environment whereas Beck undergoes a process of continual reinvention to stand apart from his peers. He habitually mixes seemingly incompatible genres with panache. 'Midnite Vultures' was trailed as a meeting of funk and country but, with the exception of a banjo solo on 'Sexx Laws' and pedal steel featuring in 'Beautiful Way', there is little to excite interest from Nashville. An equally flimsy case could be made for it being a Beatles tribute as 'Nicotine & Gravy' combines 'Day in the Life of''s orchestration with the chorus from 'Hey Jude' and 'Broken Train' has melodic echoes of 'Tomorrow Never Knows'.
This album could be credited to The Artist Formerly Known As Beck such is the spectre of Prince both in musical and vocal styles, especially the falsetto and softly-spoken voice-over in 'Debra' and the feel of 'Raspberry Beret' suggested by 'Peaches & Cream'. 'Milk & Honey' weds 80s synthesizer to funky beats, rock guitar and groovy gibberish lyrics. Only 'Beautiful Way', including backing vocals from Beth Orton, would fit easily into his previous release, the acoustic 'Mutations'.
Such plundering could result in empty, fragmented postmodern fare but Beck transcends these potential reservations. His music has a rare energy and coherence as exemplified in the triumphant horns of 'Sexx Laws' or the downright dirty feel of 'Hollywood Freaks'. The latter includes particularly inspired surreal stream of sub-consciousness raps. The only quibble would be the gap between the final named track and a bonus piece of music. This is becoming an increasingly regular trait of CDs and Beck is the worst culprit yet with seven minutes of John Cage-type silence between 'Debra' and some Atari Teenage Riot-esque noise. That apart, 'Midnite Vultures' is magnificent. Beck might soon run out of genres to ransack but if anyone could successfully merge thrash metal with brass band tunes, it's him.
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on 3 December 1999
If there is one rule that Beck has learned from all other great artists (Dylan,Bowie,Young, Lennon,Prince etc.) Is never be afraid to follow your own artistic direction and if this means not giving people what they want then so be it. Midnite Vultures is the sound of a man doing exactly what feels right and thus challenging the lister to like it or else leave it. This record is saturated in black music whether it is the soul sound of Phillidelphia and Memphis or the funk of Prince, Sly stone, Parliment, and Grandmaster flash. There is also nods to the electronica of Kraftwerk and the new wave funk of Talking heads. Midnite Vultures is not as diverse and sprawling as Odelay mainly because that records influences where more varied where as Midnite Vultures is centerd mainly around the sound of early eighties new-wave and black funk, what Beck does with this music is give it his own unique spin and it this talent that Beck has of personilising any musical style he cares to tackle that makes him such an exciting artist. The album is full of great lyrics sleazy and dark witty rhymes and musically it's very innovitive and skilled. On this record Beck also excells vocally sounding remarkably like Prince on a lot of the albums tracks most notably on 'Peaches and Cream' and 'Debra' and it's impresive to hear Beck pushing his vocal talents to their very limits.
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on 27 November 1999
Has Mr. Hanson turned into the Purple one? Is this an album of lost Prince tapes I wonder? Midnite Vultures takes you back to the mid 80's when Prince was at his peak. The squawking vocals on Debra, could be straight from Sign of the Times, whilst Nicotine and Gravy from Diamonds and Pearls. A fantastic tribute to Prince if ever I heard one.
I can only think this was intentional of Beck, as previous recordings show he has many more facets to his music, than this collection of tracks would have us believe. Mutations being one of the best albums of all time, I eagerly awaited the release of Midnite Vultures rather hoping a for more of the same genius, but alas not so. My recommendation, dust off your old Prince albums, and play those, you can't get better than the original.
Don't be put off, Beck is one of the times great musical talents, buy early albums if you haven't got them already, and try to see him live, his performances will blow you away
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on 17 July 2000
If, like Neill Strickland (see below) you were expecting Beck's latest album to sound like Mutations, you probably deserve to hate every second of Midnite Vultures. Beck insists that Mutations, his (predominantly acoustic) previous outing, was a mere frippery, a way of relieving the mental pressure exerted by his prodigious talent between albums. Yet, while Mutations is indescribably brilliant, it is entirely different to the remainder of his work. Midnite Vultures is the 'real' Beck, inasmuch as we will ever witness the true creative core of this musical genius. Listen to this album with an innocent ear and let the music take you where it chooses. You will be duly rewarded, for Midnite Vultures is a very fine record indeed.
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on 2 December 1999
This album is Beck's finest. I love Odelay but i distintly remember hating it for the first month or two. This on the other hand is immediate and catchy. It's also one of the friendliest albums I've bought in a long time: Sounds great, makes ya bust-a-move, and is 11 tracks/45 mins long like all records shoud be. Buy this, don't listen to any of the bellyachers on this page. Thank me Later
Dr J
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