I'm kinda surprised by all the interest in Charlotte Gainsbourg's "collaboration" with beck. She's been little more than Heidi Montag with a pedigree as far as her music career has gone, a function more of whatever producer/writer her agent has hooked her up with rather than having any form of her own. She doesn't really write, doesn't really play and i'm thinking signing song lyrics might be more effective than singing them. Kind of a shame considering her parents, but gotta give her credit for trying. Somehow she has musical cred (Serge and Jane's?), enough to get Beck signed up to mastermind her third album. Still, I wouldn't think the indie kids would be able to get behind that, and i was puzzled by all the press this disc has gotten.
But then i heard the disc it all fell into place. Beck has a MUSE!
Channeling Charlotte has unfettered beck from the constraints of his ARTISTE persona, jettisoning his post-ironic writing and production and allowing him to write some of the most emotionally engaging work since Sea Change. I've been spinning this compulsively. I'm particularly taken with Heaven Can Wait, IRM ("Beck, can you write a song about my recent medical issues? and can you include the notes C and F?") and Me and Jane Doe, but everything on this album works. Even Charlotte's slight vocals are effective and force Beck to arrange sympathetically instead of kitchen sinking the songs.
Surprisingly, instead of just being a favor for a friend, this is a savvy career move for both. Beck is able to re-engage his sincerity and restraint and Charlotte has her name on a gem of an album.