Jesse Jarnow

Archive for August, 2005

“funky lil’ song” – beck

“Funky Lil’ Song” – Beck


(This file will expire August 30th.)

Been on a minor Beck kick lately (more on that soon, hopefully), wishing Guero made me happier than it does. But “Funky Lil’ Song,” Beck’s contribution to Dimension Mix (Eenie Menie, Aug. 22nd) — a tribute to Bruce Haack, Esther Nelson, and their utterly psychedelic children’s imprint, Dimension 5 Records — makes me quite happy, indeed. It’s a cover, but it shouldn’t be, reviving as it does a fine strain of Beck’s older music that he didn’t bring back for Guero: the novelty number. With spoken asides (“the bad vibrations are all around / when your house is upside down”), falsetto overdrive, and some kind of exaggerated soul singer voice I’ve never heard him use before, Beck definitely plays it for somelaughs. It’s a children’s song, after all.

But, while playful, it also retains that somber (ahem) “maturity” that crept into his music beginning with Sea Change that’s frequently toosomber. Beck sounds plenty world-weary on “Funky Lil’ Song,” but when you’re swaying and singing “ding dong, funky little song, everything is up and nothing is down” it’s tough to sound like a miserable sod. More than the comedy factor, though, what makes this feel like the Beck of yore is the sheer surprise of its discovery: a freshly minted obscurity. It’s nice to have that back, if only for five minutes and 15 seconds.


some recent stories

The Mountain Goats: Turning the Kleig Lights Around; feature inteview with John Darnielle, published in Paste#16

Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman, published in Paste #17

Illinois – Sufjan Stevens, published in Paste#17

One Step Closer – String Cheese Incident

David Byrne at Central Park, 29 June 2005

Yo La Tengo and Stephen Malkmus at Battery Park, 4 July 2005

The Olivia Tremor Control at the Bowery Ballroom, 2 August 2005

BRAIN TUBA: Sea Change?

In the current Relix (Jerry Garcia cover), only in print: Mike Doughty and the Unsingable Name feature, album reviews of Lake Trout, Erin McKeown, and the Grateful Dead; DVD review of Brian Wilson presents SMiLE; book review of Anthony DeCurtis’s In Other Words