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Tuesday, September 24, 2002


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Beck: Sea Change



Beck and Ryan Adams
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Two major releases come out today, Ryan Adams' "Demolition" and Beck's "Sea Change."

Adams is Americana music's poster boy, going solo after a stint as lead man to the influential Whiskeytown with two acclaimed albums, "Heartbreaker" and "Gold." The radio hit "New York, New York" from the latter thrust the singer-songwriter into the limelight. Adams received three Grammy nominations last year, one for Male Rock Vocal on "New York, New York," Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Rock Album.

"Demolition" is compiled from songs recorded in the studio stretching back to late 2000 and the better part of last year. About 60 songs were culled from the five recording sessions, and the album was originally considered as a four-CD box set. But a compromise 13-song single CD was agreed upon instead.

Adams said there's a certain underlying theme to the album, but hesitates putting it in concrete terms. "The record, for all intents and purposes, is about a person," he said.

Tracks include the country-tinged "Chin Up, Cheer Up," "Tennessee Sucks" (in the summertime, that is), "Dear Chicago" and "Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)."

David Fricke of Rolling Stone has called Beck's new album "his 'Blood on the Tracks,'" referring to Bob Dylan's classic return-to-form record. The Los Angeleno reunites with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, after they first worked together three years ago on the similar-sounding "Mutations."

"Sea Change" has already been tagged as the best album Beck has ever made. The album was reportedly written after Beck broke up with his longtime girlfriend. Fricke's review said that the album, "gleaming with twang and heartbroken strings, is an entire album of spectacular suffering."


Gary C. W. Chun


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