Why is it so good?
'Morning Phase' is one of those albums that comes along every so often; you sit up a little sharper on first listen, it draws you in, you know there is plenty of depth to come back for more.
'Cycle', a brief instrumental, opens the album before 'Morning' sets the tone. Lazy and mellow, but with urgency and passion. Many interviews and reviews have mentioned or asked whether 'Morning Phase' could be interpreted as 'Mourning Phase'. There is certainly a sense of loss and longing on this song.
'Morning' is beautifully written and captured, setting the tone for much of the album. Beck sounds fantastic.
The outro is gorgeous, lazy and flowing, extremely enjoyable.
Beck creates some lovely melodies and harmonies throughout the album (with various people on backing vocals) and the wonderfully titled 'Heart Is A Drum' is a first class example of just how 'on form' Beck is.
'Say Goodbye' highlights that this is an album of songs from someone moving on.
'Blue Moon' was my immediate highlight on first listen. A delicate riff is picked out on ukelele, the melodies and harmonies are stunning and there are beautiful moments when the songs rises or falls, when beats kick in, or when Beck strips it bear.
The playing throughout the album is just exemplary, the pace matches the mood and production (self produced by Beck). It all comes together on the heart tugging 'Unforgiven'.
The strings add to the emotion of the song. Stunning, this reminds me of Lennon, laying his emotions on the line.
'Wave' features more strings, tugging further on those heartstrings. This is cinematic music that should come with a box of tissues to mop of the tears.
Man, I am feeling for Beck!
'Don't Let It Go' reminded me a little of Steve Mason/Beta Band in the melody and vocal. 'Blackbird Chain' is mellow an dreamy, while 'Phase' is the instrumental companion to the opener, more heart tugging/breaking strings.
'Turn Away' has echoes of Simon and Garfunkel/Fleet Foxes. Acoustic and dreamy with beautiful harmonies.