Released: June 1996

After the wildly inventive but inconsistent Mellow Gold, Beck's next major release garnered much deserved praise from the press. The likes of opening track "Devils Haircut" made it just as popular with fans. Overall, this collection was more accessible to fans of commercial songs like "Loser" while not compromising in any way. Thus it was equally, if not more pleasing for die hard Beck fans who learned all the words to less immediate songs like "Soul Suckin Jerk" and "MTV Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack".

While the heavy rock of "Devils Haircut" is an obvious highlight it is immediately equalled by the appealing rap of "Hotwax", similar to "Loser" in its barmy, rapped lyrics and its foreign refrain. The audio vignette between a curious youth and "the enchanted Wizard of rhythm" which ends the track serves to let us know at an early stage that this is not going to be an ordinary album. The country rock of "Lord Only Knows" is like one of Mellow Gold's acoustic tracks but massively souped up and ten times catchier. While "Pay No Mind" had its minimal charm, "Lord Only Knows" utterly surpasses it with its wailing guitar and joyous sing a long quality. Hit single "The New Pollution" is similar to "Devils Haircut" but funkier and slightly less straightforwardly rocking (It opens with a sweet, choral harmony backed by distant explosions). "Derelict" is the first sign of the albums darker side, its shuffling beat and subdued vocals giving way to a grave warning of a chorus. "Novacane" is one of the albums best tracks and is a little like a stronger version of a Mellow Gold song, its effects drenched vocals making it reminiscent of that album and also making it the first song on Odelay that is not remotely poppy despite its flourishes of gameshow-esque music. "Jack-Ass" shows how far Beck has come in his ability to write ballads. Its straightforward authoritative delivery takes second place to the slightly otherwordly musical accompaniment which is strangely moving. Despite its fairly conventional (but hugely effective) approach to balladry, Beck cannot resist throwing in a curveball and ends the song with the wild breying of the titles Jack-ass. The sample swamped "Where It's At" is another of the albums most interesting and joyous moments. The verses feature more "Loser" like rap and the chorus is mostly made up of the highly quotable line "Got two turntables and a microphone", although the songs heart is really rooted in its ingenius sampling. By contrast "Minus" is a fairly normal punk song but its cheery delivery and sudden unexpected tempo change keep us interested (despite the fact that the track is strong enough to not bother employing any technical tampering). The atmospheric whistling that opens "Sissyneck" defines the spirit of the whole song, a twanging country song chorus bursting through repetitive dancey beats of the verses. The beating of bongos and a sickening scream which ends the track is one of the albums best moments. The crackling, structurally simple "Readymade" is the next in a continuing line of classics which by this point number 11. "Readymade" can be used as an example of just how effective Odelay is. Beck has jammed it full of ideas and yet they have come together slickly because he has concentrated on that one idea in each song, rather than try and branch out into even more ideas within each tune. "Readymade" is a simple idea and yet it sounds fresh and cool. The wild rap of "High 5 (Rock the Catskills)" is the only song to let the side down by attempting to fill one song with too many ideas. It is destroyed by its cheesy shoted chorus and the vocal improvisation which takes the songs in lots of unnessecary directions. The refreshing balladry of "Ramshackle" is next; a soothing conventional song which builds us up for the wonderfully noise swamped closing track "Diskobox", a rowdy, distorted grower which is initially confusing but eventually as infectious as the more accessible tracks.

Odelay is a massive leap on from Mellow Gold and will undoubtedly remain Beck's greatest work. The sheer bulk of ideas and styles and the smooth handling they are subjected to have gone towards making a classic of indeterminable genre.

-Madmanmunt

Tracklist:

Devil's Haircut
Hotwax
Lord Only Knows
The New Pollution
Deralict
Novacane
Jackass
Where It's At
Minus
Sissyneck
Readymade
High 5 (Rock the Catskills)

Ramshackle

Diskobox
*

* Denotes secret/hidden/extra tracks on some versions

Lyrics:

Devil's Haircut

Something's wrong 'cause my mind is fading
And everywhere I look there's a dead end waiting
Temperature's dropping at the rotten oasis
Stealing kisses from the leperous faces

Heads are hanging from the garbageman trees
Mouthwash, jukebox, gasoline
Pistols are pointing at a poor man's pockets
Smiling eyes whipping out of their sockets

Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind

Love machines on the sympathy crutches
Discount orgies on the dropout buses
Hitching a ride with the bleeding noses
Come into town with the briefcase blues

Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind

Something's wrong 'cause my mind is fading
Ghetto blastin', disintegrating
Rock and roll, know what I'm saying?
And everywhere I look there's a devil in waiting

Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind
Got a devil's haircut in my mind

Devil's haircut in my mind
Devil's haircut in my mind
Devil's haircut in my mind

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Hotwax

It takes a backwash man to sing a backwash soul
Like a frying pan when the fire's gone
Driving my pig while the bands taking pictures in the grass
And my radio's smashed

And I like pianos in the evening sun
Dragging my heals 'til my day is done
Saturday night in the Captain's clothes
Tender horns blowing when my jewelry froze

Yo soy un disco quebrado
Yo tengo chicle en mi cerebro

I can't believe my way back when
My Cadillac pants going much to fast
Karaoke weekend at the suicide shack
Community service and I'm still the mack

Shocked my finger spicing my hand
I been spreading disease all across the land
Beautiful air-conditioned sitting in the kitchen
Wishing I was living like a hit man

Face down in the guarantees
Jaundiced honchos getting busy with ease
Because I get down I get down
I get down all the way

Yo soy un disco quebrado
Yo tengo chicle en mi cerebro

Sawdust songs of the plaid bartenders
Western Unions of the country westerns
Silver foxes looking for romance
In the chain smoke Kansas flashdance ass pants

And you got the hotwax residues
You never lose in your razor blade shoes
Stealing pesos out of my brain
Hazard signs down the Alamo lanes

Radar systems piercing the souls
You never get caught with the wax so rotten
All my days I got the grizzly words
Hijacked flavors that I'm flipping like birds

Yo soy un disco quebrado
Yo tengo chicle en mi cerebro

Who are you?
I'm the enchanting wizard of rhythm
Why did you come here?
I came here to tell you about the rhythms of the universe

[Top]

Lord Only Knows

You only got one finger left
And it's pointing at the door
And your taking for granted
What the lords laid on the floor
So I'm picking up the pieces
And I'm puttin' them up for sale,
Throw your meal ticket out the window
Put your skeletons in jail

Cos lord only knows it's gettin' late
Your senses are gone, so don't you hesistate
Give yourself a call
Let your bottom dollars fall
Throwin your two bit cares down the drain

Invite me to the seven seas
Watch some seasick man
You'll do whatever you please
And I'll do whatever I can
Titanic fare thee well
My eyes are turning pink
Don't call us when the new age
Gets old enough to drink

Cos lord only knows it's getting late
Your senses are gone so don't you hesitate
Move on up the hill
There's nothing dead left to kill
Throwin' your two bit cares down the drain

๓rale
๓rale
๓rale
๓rale
๓rale
๓rale
Just passin' through

๓rale
๓rale
๓rale
๓rale

Goin' back to Houston
Do the hot dog dance,
Goin' back to Houston
To get me some pants

[Top]

The New Pollution

She's got a cigarette on each arm
She's got the lily-white cavity crazes
She's got a carborator tied to the moon
Pink eyes looking to the fruit of the ages

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution

She's got a hand on a wheel of pain
She can talk to the mangling strangers
She can sleep in a fiery barn
Throwing troubles to the dying embers

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution

She's got a paradise camoflauge
Like a whip-crack sending me shivers
She's a boat through a strip-mine ocean
Riding low on the drunken rivers

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution

[Top]

Derelict

I dropped my anchor in the dead of night
I packed my suitcase and threw it away
I fell asleep in the funeral fire
I gave my clothes to the police man

Blow back derelict wind
Lay my soul in the foul of the air
Blow back derelict wind
Lay my soul in the foul of the air

Shooting venom at the passers-by
Hijackers tie the heavens down
I put my eyes in a paper bag
I'm spinning round like a gambling wheel

Blow back derelict wind
Lay my soul in the foul of the air
Blow back derelict wind
Lay my soul in the foul of the air

I dropped my anchor in the dead of night
I packed my suitcase and threw it away
I fell asleep in the funeral fire
I gave my clothes to the police man

Blow back derelict wind
Lay my soul in the foul of the air
Blow back derelict wind
Lay my soul in the foul of the air

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Novacane

Keep on truckin' like a novacane hurricane
No static on the paranoid short-wave
Short fuse, got to dismantle
Code red: "what's your handle?"

Mission incredible undercover convoy
Full-tilt chromosome cowboy
X-ray search and destroy
Smokestack, blacktop, novacane boy

Got so numb, longhorn drum
Detonate with the suicide gate
Test tube, stillborn days
Telescope rays in the rabies haze
Got the momentum, radioactive
Meltdown!

Step aside for the operation
Full spectrum generation
Cyanide ride down the turnpike
After hours on the miracle mic

Grinding the gears eighteen wheels
Pigs and robots riding on their heels
Plowin' through a road block
Making a sandblast
Diesel inferno movin' like drain-o
Down the horizon, purple gasses
Semi-trucks haulin' their asses
Novacane, hit the road, expressway
Explode!

Novacane!
Novacane!

[Top]

Jackass

I've been drifting along in the same stale old shoes
Loose ends tying a noose in the back of my mind
If you thought that you were making your way
To where the puzzles and pagans lay
Put it together, it's a strange invitation

When I wake up someone will sweep up my lazy bones
And we will rise in the cool of the evening
I remember the way that you smiled
When the gravity shackles were wild
And something is vacant when I think it's all beginning

I've been drifting along in the same stale old shoes
Loose ends tying a noose in the back of my mind
If you thought that you were making your way
To where the puzzles and pagans lay
Put it together, it's a strange invitation

[Top]

Where It's At

There's a destination a little up the road
From the habitations and the towns we know
A place we saw the lights turn low
Jig-saw jazz and the get-fresh flow

Pulling out jives and jamboree handouts
Two turntables and a microphone
Bottles and cans and just clap your hands and just clap your hands

Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone
Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone
Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone
Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone

Take me home in my elevator bones!
That was a good drum break

Pick yourself up off the side of the road
With your elevator bones and your whip-flash tones
Members only, hyponotizers
Move through the room like ambulance drivers
Shine your shoes with your microphone blues
Hirsutes with your parachute flutes
Passing the dutchie from coast to coast
Let the man Gary Wilson rock the most

Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone
Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone

What about those who swing both ways: AC-DC's

Two turntables and a microphone
Two turntables and a microphone
Two turntables and a microphone
Two turntables and a microphone
Two turntables and a microphone
Two turntables and a microphone

Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone
Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone

Oh, dear me. Make Out City is a two-horse town
That's beautiful, Dad
Get my microphone

There's a destination a little up the road
From the habitations and the towns we know
A place we saw the lights turn low
Jig-saw jazz and the get-fresh flow
Pulling out jives and jamboree handouts
Two turntables and a microphone
Bottles and cans and just clap your hands and just clap your hands

Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone
Where it's at
I got two turntables and a microphone

I got plastic on my mind
Telephone plastic baby

[Top]

Minus

The last survivor of a boiled crown
Another casualty with the casual frown
The janitor vandals they bark in your face
Juveniles with the piles and paste

It's a sensation
A bankrupt corpse
In the garbage classes
With the crutches of force

Don't be confused when your fuse is up
And you're taking a leak into your brother's cup
When the cup is filled you can run and be killed
In the billion miles of the muscles that build

Radiation
Feeling the force
Karaoke
Vomiting whores

The scalps of zero hailing the call
Rubbing in the blindness of them all
With the canker sores and the robot pills
Throwing imbeciles on the window sills

It's a sensation
A bankrupt corpse
In the garbage classes
With the crutches of force

Force
Force
Force

[Top]

Sissyneck

I don't need no wheels, I don't need no gasoline
Cos the wind that is blowing is blowing like a smoke machine

If I said to you that I was looking for a place to get to
Cos my neck is broken and my pants ain't getting no bigger

I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life and some good ol' boys
I'm writing my will on a three dollar bill in the evening time

All my friends tell me something is getting together
I got a beard that would disappear if I'm dressed in leather
Now let me tell you about my baby, she was born in Arizona
Sitting in the jailhouse trying to learn some good manners

I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life and some good ol' boys
I'm writing my will on a three dollar bill in the evening time

Matchsticks strike when I'm riding my bike to the depot
Cos everybody knows my name at the recreation center

If I could only find a nickel I would pay myself off tonight
Cos nobody knows when the good times have passed out cold

I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life and some good ol' boys
I'm writing my will on a three dollar bill in the evening time

I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life and some good ol' boys
I'm writing my will on a three dollar bill in the evening time

Don't talk to me if you're looking for somebody to cry on
Don't talk to me if you're looking for somebody to cry on

[Top]

Readymade

An open road where I can breathe
Where the lowest low is callin' to me
I can pull myself back up back down
Stuck together like a readymade

And nobody knows where we been
Cancelled rations are running thin
Watches tick out of tune
Falling apart like a readymade

And my bags are waiting in the next life

Rubbish piles fresh and plain
Empty boxes in a pawn shop brain
License plates stowaway
Standing in line like a readymade

And my bags are waiting in the next life

An open road where I can breathe
Where the lowest low is comin to me
I can pull myself back up back down
Stuck together like a readymade

And my bags are waiting in the next life

[Top]

High 5 (Rock the Catskills)

High 5, High 5!
High 5, High 5!

C'mon on! 8! Everybody! C'mon! 7! C'mon, now! 6! 5! Aw, yeah, I like that shit.

When I arrive it's like a high 5
Or a slap in the face I love the taste
All my days with my wheelchair ways
Watch me die in my suicide high
i don't mean to cause a holy commotion
When I step to the room with a powerful motion
Leopard skin let the records spin
'Round and round with the speed of sound

High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!
High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!

Rocky mountain low we gotta go
Put that gadget in the random mode
Cripple candy rocking the Tandy
Rhumba, bloodshot, doing the foxtrot

In my cot sweating like a dog
Beers and tears, new frontiers
On my way from the 'Frisco Bay
Dixieland, soda-pop man

High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!
High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!

Yeah, put that machine in Latin mode
Talking about poppin' tacos
Back, back the last century

Turn that shit off, man! What's wrong with you? Man, get the other record!...Damn!

High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!
High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!
High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!
High 5! More dead than alive!
Rocking the plastic like a man from the Catskills!

Ok, now. Do like designer jeans. Everybody, designer jeans! say, say, say, say, say: Ooh, la la, sasoon! C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! Everybody! One more time, let me hear you say: Ooh, la la, sasoon! Just do it everybody, c'mon! Now I want the ladies. All the ladies, say: Sergio Valente! Sing it, girl. Let me hear you say: Sergio
Valente! Say: Jordache Turn it Up!

[Top]

Ramshackle

You've been so long
Your blind eyes are gone
Your old bones are on their own

So take off your coat
Put a song in your throat
Let the dead-beats pound all around

We will go
Nowhere we know
We don't have to talk at all
Hand me downs
Flypaper towns
Stuck together
One and all

The bargains you drag
Buckets and bags
And all your belongings

Your trains in the sand
Ramshackle land
Let the rats watch the races

We will go
Nowhere we know
'Til we find our one and all
Hand me downs
Flypaper towns
Stuck together
One and all

Praises get spent
Your trick face is bent
Pigsties and prizes

'cos there's no kind of wealth
You're shooting yourself
You leave yourself behind

We will go
Nowhere we know
'Til we find our one and all
Your hand me downs
Flypaper towns
Stuck together
One and all

[Top]

Diskobox

Gotta get it
Gotta get it
Plastic classic
Hey yo! Hey yo!

Can't forget my plastic get down
Ghost electric telephone bones
Blowing like horns about to shout
Nasty distortion down on a slowjam
All my friends got Dixie soul
Rockin' the plastic, takin' the low road
Rough as a river, cowboy now boy
Biscuit chicken hittin' the wicked
Sandwich soul, buffalo
Make it back for the finger pointin' down
Ooh got to get it, plastic classic
Totem poles in the briefcase shows

Get that brand new action!
Gonna let me get with the jet effect
Get that brand new action!
Gonna let me get with the jet effect

Lonesome whistle blows, my bucket froze
Last Saturday night, I couldn't find my fight
Sippin' whiskey in the midnight shade
Vandalized like I didn't have no time
Up the river, around the road
A traveling man with a trippin' van
Soda pop spittin' out slime
Let get (???) and realized

Get that brand new action!
Gonna let me get with the jet effect
Get that brand new action!
Gonna let me get with the jet effect

Diskobox
Diskobox
Diskobox
Diskobox
Diskobox
Diskobox

[Top]