Beck isn't wasting any time in capitalizing on his surprise Album of the Year win at this year's Grammy Awards. Although he doesn't have a new album finished, the rocker released a new track on iTunes Monday called “Dreams,” which might be the most infectious track he has recorded in years.
While Beck's Grammy-winning album, Morning Phase, was subdued, sparse, and lyrically focused, “Dreams” is the complete opposite. Built around jangly guitar riffs, up-tempo beats, and “woah-oh-oh” chants, the song sounds nothing like his recent work. The 44-year-old sings, “Come on out of your dreams / And wake up from your reverie / Time is here, don’t go to sleep / Streets are running on the brink / They say that we’ve got nothing / But a dollar for a life of sin / Cause there’s trouble on the way.”
“Dreams” captures the same spirit as recent danceable rock songs like Maroon 5's “Sugar,” Bastille's “Pompeii,” and Walk the Moon's “Shut Up and Dance.” It's unclear whether Beck is intentionally following radio trends or has some other inspiration, but either way, this is a song that could get played on Top 40 stations, something that hasn't happened for Beck in at least a decade.
The song only breaks away from its radio-friendly style at the three-minute mark, when it veers into a dreamy bridge with a slower tempo, vocal echos, and electronic whoosh noises that give the song Beck's signature quirky touch. Beck told L.A. radio station Alt 98.7 that “Dreams” came from a different place than many of his other songs.
“I was really trying to make something that would be good to play live,” he explained. “It started out as a heavy garage rock thing, and it became much more of a dance, or some other kind of hybrid. I'm not sure what it is yet.”
“Dreams” will appear on Beck's next album, which he said he's already been working on for a few years. When asked whether the rest of the record will sound like “Dreams,” Beck replied, “It's pretty diverse, but a lot of it has this energy. It's a group of songs that really fit together.”
Beck confirmed that he's been working with Greg Kurstin, which could explain the poppy sound of the new album, given Kurstin's track record producing for Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and Pink. Beck also said that he's been inspired by the recent work of alternative bands like MGMT, Phoenix, and Daft Punk.
Though he seemed content in the last few years to drift into folkie singer-songwriter territory, Beck has a bunch of catchy, peppy songs on his resume, including 1994's “Loser,” 1997's “The New Pollution,” and 2005's “E-Pro.” He has promised to tour later this summer and to play many of the new songs on stage.