Rantings, reviews and lists from a person who structures half his life around obsessing over music.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beck - Stereopathic Soul Manure (1994)

1.5 ★/3.0 - 3.9

In 1999, Sonic Enemy Records remastered Beck's cassette debut on CD without his permission. When Beck found out, he was furious, and the company halted production. Of course, within the first ten seconds of the opening track, it becomes apparent why. Golden Feelings sounds like it was recorded by a belligerent drunk. But could you blame Sonic Enemy for releasing such an inane recording into a discography that includes something as grating and befuddling as Stereopathic Soul Manure?

Beck is right, however, in that Stereopathic Soul Manure has something that most poorly performed, lo-fi rubbish doesn't (his own included). All the grating, completely pointless noise and talentless acoustic mish-mashing of Golden Feelings is here, but it's been enhanced by an undeniable sense of humor and charm. I challenge you to listen to that nervous runt deliver his ridiculous bullshit stories ("8.6.62", "11.6.45", "8.4.82") without laughing out loud or the witty hoe-down, "Satan Gave Me A Taco" without smiling extensively. Some might say the fact that there's actually some genuine attempts at songs here is what makes it worth hearing, but I'd counter that simple songs like "Rowboat", "Modesto" and "The Spirit That Moves Me" are just as forgettable in their cleanly-recorded, country stylings as "One Foot In The Grave" is in its pedestrian blues or "Tasergun" in its listless sludge. No, the real reason to listen to Stereopathic Soul Manure at all, is to hear a man's story of finding an unopened bottle of beer by a dead wild cat, or to hear Beck's priceless Ozzy Osbourne imitation. But seeing as how it is the music we're dealing with here...

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