These are the first official recordings from Beck’s Song Reader project, where he released an “album” of sheet music. There are a wide variety of artists and styles, although they lean towards the folk-rocky, like Beck himself. There a few surprises, including Juanes’s Latin pop (track 9) and Jack Black’s show tune (track 18). It’s also a benefit album, with proceeds going to David Eggers’ 826 Valencia project, which helps school children with creative writing.
Highlights: Track 4 (Norah Jones), 7 (Jack White), 8 (Beck)
Also good: Tracks 1 (Moses Sumney), 2 (fun.), 14 (Marc Ribot), 17 (Swamp Dogg)
1. Moses Sumney. vocal heavy, soulful, a bit slow, acoustic, picks up about 2/3 through
2. fun. you can definitely tell it’s the fun vocalist. some nice vocals. typical fun. a little slow. soaring vocals over basic background beat. Kind of sounds like the Beatles
3. Tweedy. a little folky but fun
4. Norah Jones. one of the livelier songs. jazzy, piano, typical norah jones. more upbeat than the previous tracks. short (only 2 min)
5. Lord Huron. all these songs sound like the smiths to me/ something you would find on the 500 days of summer soundtrack. this one is slightly more upbeat.
6. Bob Forrest. Pretty slow. vaguely Bob Dylan-y.
7. Jack White. twangy. Jack White does bluesy country ballad? With some typical heavy guitar. Alternates between country ballad and typical Jack White guitar and drums with some nice piano thrown in.
8. Beck. The only song on the CD actually by Beck. It’s pretty good, very Beatle-esque. Similar to his stuff from Morning Phase.
9. Juanes! A nice twist. Translated the song into Spanish.
10. Laura Marling. Basic. Sugary vocals with a simple guitar backup.
11. Jarvis Cocker. more in the style of a typical Beck song.
12. David Johansen. southern bluesy big band swing, with a growly voice like Tom Waits
13. Jason Isbell. more aggressive guitar. lo fi rock.
14. Marc Ribot. Polka! Instrumental. Lotsa saxophone or it could be a clarinet or something. some windy instrument. moody. reminds me of Yann Tiersen.
15. Eleanor Friedberger. old school cabaret song.
16. Sparks. orchestral. Pretty intense, operatic.
17. Swamp Dogg. a soulful, bluesy ballad with simple vocals and a piano, like billy joel.
18. Jack Black. Exactly what you would expect from Jack Black singing a Beck song. Very show-tuney. The lyrics are pretty much nonsense.
19. Loudin Wainwright III. Bluegrass
20. Gabriel Kahane. instrumental. soundtrack like. like an old cartoon disney movie.