Beck's Music

Adam Harvey

Music is central to my life. Without music, the world would be naked, cold, and quiet. Music can set the rhythm for a long day of work, the mood for a date, for a party, for your whole life. It can wrap you in a blanket of comfort when you are lonely, or inspire you when you are down. Music is a vehicle for expressing love, telling a story, or showing happiness. My love for music has grown immensely throughout the past few years and continues to grow without bounds. Playing musical instruments, such as the piano and guitar, has deepened my appreciation for the sounds I hear when I listen to music. From personal experience playing in concerts and writing my own songs, I have captured the views of both sides of music's artistic prism: creation and presentation. Creation, I have learned, can be a tremendously tedious task. It involves much more than perseverance and determination. Creating music requires the harmonious articulation of one's feelings and thoughts through instrumental or vocal sounds. There is no one who accomplishes the feat more cleverly than Beck.

Beck Hansen, known as Beck, is a musical genius who performs an unparalleled, funky, and melodic music style. At the age of 29, he has produced six full albums and will soon be releasing his seventh. Beck has become an inspirational icon among rising musicians and has defied the classification system of musical genres. Much disagreement has arisen over what kind of music it is that Beck performs, but the resistance to classification is what makes it unique. He merges coinciding genres, such as psychedelic hip-hop, folk, rap, and country, to define his own genre. Beck's dynamic music adjusts to the latest musical trends and builds off of talent from past generations. Like a catfish feeding on the bottom of a lake, Beck's music feeds off of the styles of other successful musician, such as Bob Dylan and The Beastie Boys. However, this does not mean that Beck is a copycat artist. It means that his music is based on a collaboration of the sounds of the world, and this makes his music very diversified. Beck is one of the most original musicians of all time, and to classify him as anything but a genius would be even more absurd than Beck himself. He is always "courting cultural disaster, and part of his genius is that he's always on the verge of making a complete ass of himself"(Rotundi).

Beck Hansen was born in 1970 in Los Angeles . Twenty-nine years later he has become one of the most revered musicians of the '90s. The harsh street life of Los Angeles made Beck realize the importance of what most people take for granted, such as the voluptuous emotions we feel regardless of our social status. In the song, "Lord only knows," from the album, O'Delay, Beck expresses his view of how life should be lived, appreciatively. The beginning of the song reads:
You only got one finger left
And it's pointing at the door
And you're taking for granted
What the Lords laid on the floor

Beck's family was very supportive of him while he explored his musical talent during his teen years. They provided him with a free spirited, "semi-bohemian environment" that promoted an artistic and creative lifestyle (Hindin). His mother, Bibbie Hansen, was in one of Andy Warhol's clique of "Superstars" when she was only 13, and spent her life as a musician and actress. Beck's father, David Campell, taught Beck a great deal about music. David Campell was a well-known street musician who wrote string arrangements for esteemed bands, including Aerosmith. Perhaps the most highly influential member of his family, however, was Al Hansen, Beck's grandfather. He was a postmodern artist who took part in the founding the FluXus movement, the most radical art movement of the 1960s (Hindin). In 1998, Beck and his grandfather worked together to create a visual art exhibit called "Playing with Matches." This exhibit focused on artwork created from garbage, such as cigarette-butt sculptures and Hershey wrapper collages. Working with "junk" is Beck's greatest talent. Beck can be seen as an Alchemist who transforms junk into art, or as he says in the song, "We live again," turn "shit to gold." His methods of creating art, visual and audible, may be absurd, but they are honest and innovative and that is what makes