One self-deprecating joke is all it took for Beck to become the center of one of the Grammy’s most infamous moments.
On Feb. 8, 2015, as he took the stage to accept the Album of the Year award from Prince at the 57th annual Grammys, Beck was pranked by (you guessed it) Kanye West, who feigned indignation that Morning Phase -- Beck’s 2014 collection of mellow, golden rock -- beat out Beyonce’s self-titled opus for the top prize of the night. Never mind that West intended to mock himself; as with all things Kanye and award shows, the moment became blog fodder and starting an ongoing discussion about the legitimacy and sensibility of the Grammys themselves.
It was unfortunate that Beck became the flashpoint for this discussion; given his own restless creative identity, Beck is hardly the type of artist who showcases the bland, safe sensibilities that West was implicitly criticizing. Still, one can’t help but wonder the effect the moment had on the singer-songwriter. His more hip-hop-oriented follow-up to Morning Phase, which Beck promised as early as 2015, has been repeatedly delayed.
But with another show announced this week -- an Aug. 25 date at King County’s Marymoor Park -- it appears that the long-awaited release might finally be on the horizon. Before he drops another classic on us, here’s a quick look at what Beck has been up to since that fateful moment in early ‘15.
Dropping big, arm-waving singles
Though he hasn’t released a full length since his curiously overlooked Song Reader covers album in the summer of ‘14, Beck has still laced fans with a couple of stellar tracks that indeed showcase his funkier side. “Dreams” -- which you can revisit in the video embedded above -- arrived in the summer of 2015 while “Wow” (which some have argued was the low key song of the summer) dropped last June. If recent history is any indication, we could be hearing new Beck music soon.
Working with some of the biggest names in dance music
As past collaborations with Air and Tobacco suggest, Beck has never been averse to working with electronic artists and over the past couple of years, he’s continued that trend. Beck appeared on the Chemical Brothers’ plaintive yet propulsive track “Wide Open” in 2015 and followed that up last year with appearances on albums from M83 and Flume.
Teaming up with his old friend Jack White for “The American Epic Sessions”
As an artist whose early music had one foot in the bluesy, singer-songwriter traditions of American South, Beck was a natural choice to participate in Jack White’s documentary series “American Epic.” The series focuses on the recovery and restoration of recordings made of regional performers in the early days of vinyl records and Beck is among a long list of performers who cut a song direct to acetate using the lone surviving electrical recording system from the ‘20s. The special “The American Epic Sessions” airs on PBS June 6.
Covering the classics
As longtime fans know, Beck is quite fond of a good cover song (or full album) but in the two-plus years since the Grammys, his pace has slowed somewhat. However, the one officially-released cover he dropped was a stunning version of Elvis Presley’s timeless “Can’t Help Falling In Love” that appeared on the Danger Mouse-curated “The Man in the High Castle” soundtrack “Revolution Radio.”
For more news and content on Beck, as well as tickets to select concerts, keep it here on AXS.com.