Beck made five often great albums to start his career. He was omnivorous in those days, eating up all music and spitting it out as Beck. The song that earned him big attention was a novelty tune, a slacker hiphop ditty he co wrote with Carl Stephenson called Loser.
The first time I saw Beck, at Lallapalooza in NYC in 1996, he played his show hiding behind the Marshall stacks, because the kids were hurling bottles at him. He seemed to be egging them on.
This was weird behavior, and kind of funny, which for me pegged Beck as an antic funster who happened to have a grandfather who was a leading light in the art world’s most antically fun movement, Fluxus.
Beck has since adopted Scientology and made a maddening string of clever but dull records, but I saw him in the Summer of 2013 and the live show rocked. Lots of dance tunes from the early days, the crowd pleasers, and not so many rueful confessions, as has been his wont in many recent years.
Having finished second in the ADL by one half point, I give you Loser: