Jesse Jarnow

“strange invitation” – beck

“Strange Invitation” – Beck (download here)
from Jack-ass single (1997)
released by DGC (buy)

(file expires on April 20th.)

Like “Brazil,” “Jack-ass” is also a durable song. Besides the Odelay version, based on Van Morrison’s cover of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” there’s “Burro,” the mariachi arrangement, and this, “Strange Invitation.” Given that Beck has since made it one of his trademarks, it’s also worth noting that this is probably first string-heavy space-pop ballad. (David Campbell, Beck’s father, arranged the strings in question.)

Like both other versions, “Strange Invitation” is gorgeous. For me, the center of the song is the phrase “we will rise in the cool of the evening.” It conjures up something out of One Hundred Years of Solitude, of seeking respite from an oppressive, exotic heat and finding it in the transcendent nighttime shade.