I am very excited to say that I will be seeing Beck in concert at the beautiful Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California this week. That being said, I decided to reflect on him as an artist and how he has inspired me. If you listen to every Beck record released, you'll reach one conclusion: All of his songs sound completely different from the last. I first discovered Beck when I was eight on the '90s Sirius radio channel. I didn't have much knowledge of music from the 1990s at that age, but what triggered me to listen to that station was for the pure fact that I simply loved seeing my birth year appear next to the song titles. I was a strange kid.
Beck's "The New Pollution" from his critically acclaimed studio album entitled Odelay. was my gateway drug to the magical world that is Beck Hansen. Beck has also led me to various other artists that I probably wouldn't have heard of if it wasn't for him. Many people I know mention that their family and friends influenced their music taste. I just feel that Beck created a greater influence on my music taste than my friends or family. At age eight, my friends were into Blink-182, my dad was still obsessing over the Smashing Pumpkins and my mom was still listening to dated but still very much danceable New Wave songs. At that age, I didn't care about lyrics, emotion or song structures. I solely enjoyed his music for being so fun and different. It also doesn't hurt that Beck is pretty easy on the eyes (insert wink emoticon here).
Beck is a musical chameleon that cannot be placed in any one genre. That's not the only reason I appreciate him. I find him very interesting since he takes large interests in other cultures instead of just his own. I feel like I can really relate to Beck since he is from Los Angeles, California and you can really get a glimpse of that city when you listen to his music. I was born east of Downtown Los Angeles and I lived there long enough to recall it so vividly. It wasn't the most desirable place to live, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I wouldn't even change the million trips to the swamp meet that my mother would drag me to. I feel that I can relate to Beck's Guero album the most since my sister and I were the "gueras" of our neighborhood and we seem to have experienced everything in the funny but catchy, "Que Onda Guero" track.
Growing up, I took the amazing Latino culture that surrounded me in Los Angeles for granted. All I would look forward to was St. Patrick's Day because my grandma and my dad used to always celebrate our Irish heritage in very big ways. Beck is obviously not Latino, but that doesn't mean he can't sing songs in Spanish or make music videos in which he attends Mexican birthday parties at the park. (These are all things he's done already.) He's inspired me to take interest in other cultures than simply just my own. I feel that I am well-educated on Irish, Latino and Italian cultures now; however, I still want to continue to expand my knowledge of even more cultures from around the world. My goal right now is to move to France for a few months, most preferably during vacation months in hopes that I can learn more about their culture and history.
Besides Beck's awesome ability to fit the entire city of Los Angeles in one song, he is also able to write very emotional songs like "Guess I'm Doing Fine." With every breath and croak in his voice, you feel his music sink into your soul to the point that you actually feel every single word Beck is singing. I'm glad I grew up listening to such an incredible and inspiring artist. Even though he recently released his twelfth studio album, I simply cannot wait to hear more from him for many years to come.
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