New ‘M Means Music’ Episode Tackles Beck’s ‘Sea Change’

Season three has also included episodes on Stevie Wonder and Ella Fitzgerald.

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Beck - Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation
Beck - Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation

Season three of M Means Music has returned with a new episode offering an in-depth look at Beck’s groundbreaking opus, Sea Change.

Shop the best of Beck’s discography on vinyl and more.

Host Darly Easlea opens with a bit of background, saying, “The best albums create their own universe; a listener gets so lost in the work, they wonder why they have ever listened to anything else: Sea Change is one of those albums; you may not go there very often, but when you do, you find it hard not to listen on repeat. It is arguably one of the most autumnal albums you’ll ever hear; a break-up album where the hurt rises with each orchestral swell or chord change.  

“We’d seen many Becks already in his first decade as a performer; he had traveled from indie-folk-punk-troubadour to major label success with his breakthrough album Mellow Gold and its single, “Loser;” Odelay from 1996 put him on the cusp of superstardom–“Where It’s At” and “Devil’s Haircut;” yet 1998’s Mutations showed his ability to shapeshift, an introspective work that lost him a section of his new found audience.  

“The last time he’d released an album was the larger-than-life Midnite Vultures in 1999, which underlined Beck as the retro-funk, Prince-meets-Chic retro hipster, with thoroughly groovy “Nicotine and Gravy” and the sublimely soulful “Debra,” a live showstopper that had been in his act for many years.”

He then discusses the brilliant Sea Change, saying, “However, Sea Change was different. It was written in 99 and 2000 and inspired by his break-up with his long-term girlfriend Leigh Limon, who had been with him since the start of the 90s. Beck had said, ‘She chose me when I was penniless and unknown, and that makes her about the most important person in my life.’ However, after allegedly finding out she was having an affair, the relationship came to a halt.” 

He adds, “With its steady downtempo pace, and low-key wordplay, it’s like a great singer-songwriter from the 70s has been washed up in the 00s. Recorded with his usual band, and special guests; It is with little wonder parts of the album are orchestrated by his father, David Campbell, who began working in the industry on Carole King’s Tapestry album.”  

Listen to the M Means Music episode on Beck’s Sea Change.

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