Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Blue, Blue, Electric Pepsi Blue
February 10, 2013 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Accompanied by 150 musicians, Beck does an 8-minute re-imagination of Bowie's "Sound and Vision" (SLYT)

As part of the launch of Lincoln Motor Company's "Hello Again" project, a "multiplatform program that supports reinterpretations of noteworthy artistic material to create fresh and distinctive bodies of work."
posted by John Shaft (46 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was pretty neat, but it's hard to improve upon the original. I also think it's hard to martial that many musicians into doing anything really mind blowing. It just becomes too unwieldy. I have seen the Boredoms with 4 drummers and I've seen then with 77 drummers, and the 4 drummer version manages to create something really sonically outstanding, while 77--well they just make a neat racket.

Still, Beck has earned a lifetime pass for just being an amazong creative dude, and being generally open to trying just about anything, and that was a fun take on that tune.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:32 PM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


i loved every single second of that. i bet it was exhilarating to take part in it.
posted by nadawi at 5:37 PM on February 10, 2013


It's great to hear new work from Beck. He continues to evolve and amaze.

The same cannot be said for Lincoln.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 5:38 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am in the middle of watching it but, thanks to Clear Wire, it froze at 2:59 on the hippie looking back-up singer, so I've been watching her for three minutes now. She will be my wife one day. We will have babies and name them all Hippie Clear Wire Beck Michaels.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:41 PM on February 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh my god I can't wait sound and vision is the bestest bestest bestest BLUE BLUE ELECTRIC BLUE Ok watching standby
posted by nathancaswell at 5:56 PM on February 10, 2013


All right, and now listened to the whole thing. Its an inspired approach to the song and while it doesn't surpass the original, its surely a worthwhile take on the song.

The original Bowie/Visconti version on Low had 7 or 8 musicians playing on it (including Brian Eno and Carlos Alomar) but sounds pretty stripped down. Its like they used as little as they could to communicate the song (I always love Bowie's sax part on it, but that's a whole other subject). I always feel like Bowie is trying to vanish into the song a little (I feel that way about the whole Low album - its almost like "David Bowie presents..." rather than "David Bowie in...").

Beck's choice to use the entire population of Bear Point, Iowa as his backing band on this version sounds very full, but it also makes Beck the undisputed focus of the song. Obviously that's true in the staging, too. I don't know that I have enough distance from the Bowie song to make this statement soundly, but it feels like that undermines the point of the song. Or maybe it just makes me question the meaning of the song. Who moved my cheese, you know?

I like Beck's construction of the coda (the Bowie version fades out about three minutes in). It feels right for the song. I saw Bowie perform this live on the Sound + Vision tour in 1990 and I can't for the life of me remember how he and his band resolved it.

Heh. I didn't think I had that much to say about this version.

And Lincoln's cars are still lousy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:00 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly fascinating, and completely not what I expected.

But AI can't resist. Always Crashing in the Same Car would have been better in every respect.
posted by vers at 6:02 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Beck but sadly, this feels a little corporately commercial.

Thin. White. Dookie!
posted by markkraft at 6:03 PM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ok nevermind YouTube's buffering is just fucking terrible and it won't preload or play and I'm just sitting there looking at stupid Lincoln logo and dumb videos in the side bar getting second thoughts and thinking it probably won't have those thin awesome drums and isn't the whole great thing about Sound and Vision how thin and sparse it is and fuck it I'm gonna go back to watching Senna on Netflix, where videos actually buffer and stream correctly.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:04 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel good about this decision, like not seeing The Golden Compass.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:05 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


All right, here's how he resolved it in 1990. Adrian Belew is no Carlos Alomar, but then again Carlos Alomar is no Adrian Belew.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:05 PM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Never ask anyone to remake Bowie.
Wait six months instead. Bowie will remake himself.
posted by markkraft at 6:10 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I keep thinking that Beck's expansion and contraction of what genre and album means is really important, and i think working out history and tradition, is weirdly one of the things he does best. this doesn't try to out bowie bowie, but treat it like a standard, and work thru it, like that--like jazz almost. im okay w that
posted by PinkMoose at 6:24 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


this is that song that made Dewey Cox's band break up, right?
posted by es_de_bah at 6:42 PM on February 10, 2013


I am partial to the version by The Sea and Cake. I don't know why, but it's my favorite.
posted by 3200 at 6:42 PM on February 10, 2013


Love it but can we please retire "reimagine" as a word?
posted by octothorpe at 6:48 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The intro is like a very annoying version of the end of Close Encounters.
posted by Artw at 6:55 PM on February 10, 2013


Also 140ish random musicians would seem to be worth one Eno.
posted by Artw at 6:56 PM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Couldn't make it through the video. Just because you chose a cool tune to cover doesn't make you or your oeuvre neat. Next.
posted by Alles at 6:56 PM on February 10, 2013


So, were all of the xylophone players wearing cardigans?
posted by oddman at 6:57 PM on February 10, 2013


...featuring the Sea Orgestra.
posted by Hennimore at 7:20 PM on February 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I love Beck. I love Bowie. I love this song. I did not love this.
Not entirely sure why.
posted by brevator at 7:22 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Beck. I love Bowie. I love this song. I did not love this.
Not entirely sure why.

Also 140ish random musicians would seem to be worth one Eno.


If online accounts are to be believed, it was approximately 160 musicians that failed to equal one (1) Eno.

Eno was what was missing, brevator.
posted by vers at 7:31 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those of you who hate YouTube buffering, I suggest that you install a downloader into your browser and download the video to your computer and play back the file. No buffering.

This version was not as good as the original. Worth watching though.
posted by gen at 7:32 PM on February 10, 2013


Reimagine all the people
It's easy if you try
posted by spitbull at 7:33 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


...featuring the Sea Orgestra.

yeah, every time I find myself almost digging Beck again, something creepy pops up.

Most recently, it was an interview with Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips where he was asked about that tour a few years back when the Lips both opened for Beck and served as his backing band. According to Coyne, Beck was difficult and weird. Or more to the point, he hardly ever saw Beck except on stage. Everything else was handled by intermediaries. Which gets me looking at this BIG take on Sound and Vision and wondering if any of these other musicians and players are even real to Beck ... or just play things, well paid and rehearsed but really just details in his personal fantasy.

But it's a darned interesting fantasy.
posted by philip-random at 8:04 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I loved this. I think Beck has always been at his best when he lets the Stockhausen in his blood shine through a little. The drop out with the electric guitar and the yodeling was wonderfully Fluxus.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:41 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't fuck with the original.
posted by scose at 8:57 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stockhausen in his blood? Can Beck even spell Stockhausen? How dare you. Boy, it's really amazing what you can get a bunch of freelancers to do with a click track and some shitty arrangements. Ho hum.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:23 PM on February 10, 2013


Was that a binaural dummy head at the 6:08 mark?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:28 PM on February 10, 2013


Yeah ... looks like they've got some kind of multi-multi-eared recording dummy head hanging over the middle of the stage!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:35 PM on February 10, 2013


Sorry for my audio engineering geekery ... here it is. Squeee!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:42 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


i really like bowie, but i gotta say, i don't like his version better than this (or this version better than bowie's). i think it's possible for a song and a cover to exist and have neither of them be better, just different.
posted by nadawi at 11:12 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Quasi + (Sound + Vision) = not bad at all
posted by philip-random at 11:20 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, this is what The Atlantic meant by a milestone year.

It feels milestoney.
posted by Mezentian at 12:08 AM on February 11, 2013


(This wasn't my cup of tea. If it was yours, please ignore the following)

Look, I hate ColdPlay as much as the next guy and I hate them for not many reasons but one reason powerfully enough that I will never see eye-to-eye with them and it's totally all over this.

Because more isn't better. The beauty (for me) of 'Sound and Vision' (which is a fucking perfect song in it's original incarnation) is how precise it is. It's all worked out, from the first chord. Well set up the rhythm and beat, put a jingle-shoosh, now that funny percussion bean sound, some more guitar, now vocals: Sing the song, put it in the bank. Let's just toodle this out because we already made our point with the song's structure. Was this good? Did we do something good here? Yes.
This version seems to think, "If we just orchestrate the fuck out of it... how much time do we have to kill? What's our budget? OK, let's pad this fucker out...are those people over there getting a day rate? Can we get some accomplished a matures in here? Sell proximity to fame and maybe...No? ok, ok..."

That 'Quasi' cover a couple comments above is exactly how to do it right. This was just a car crash. A lemon-lime shit-handling over chromed disaster.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Beck was difficult and weird. Or more to the point, he hardly ever saw Beck except on stage. Everything else was handled by intermediaries.

Maybe it's true, but on the other hand he did the whole Record Club series where he would cover a whole album in a day with ad hoc bands made of different musicians. I don't see why someone would do a project like that if they didn't like hanging out with other people.
posted by snofoam at 2:27 AM on February 11, 2013


Adrian Belew is no Carlos Alomar, but then again Carlos Alomar is no Adrian Belew.

I remember that tour. At times, it seemed like David Bowie was a guest at an Adrian Belew concert.

Not that this was a bad thing...
posted by eriko at 6:14 AM on February 11, 2013


Not without flaws, a bit ragged... but I like the concept. Yay.

I'd give my left ear to hear a recording of the signal from just the suspended binaural head.

(ok, bad choice. Left pinkie, then)
posted by Artful Codger at 6:47 AM on February 11, 2013


This is well overcooked. Beck is certainly inventive enough, but this maximalism doesn't add anything to the song. And I don't get why Lincoln would sponsor this. Do you know anyone under the age of 60 who's interested in Lincolns?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2013


Do you know anyone under the age of 60 who's interested in Lincolns?

I assume that's the point. "This is not your father's Oldsmobile Lincoln."
posted by octothorpe at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2013


When I click on either the link to Youtube or the little play button it tells me "This link is private."

Is this comparable?
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:02 AM on February 11, 2013


NPR's Planet Money did a nice podcast about Lincoln's attempt to make the brand hip again for the under-70 crowd. They compare/contrast to Audi, who did it successfully.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:39 AM on February 11, 2013


Adrian Belew gets all Elephant
posted by philip-random at 10:48 AM on February 11, 2013


Saw some of the making of this before it was broadcast and didn't look promising. Big Bowie and Beck fan (of the music, couldn't care less about their biographies) but this is one of those songs that can't be covered successfully in my book. Didn't care for Beck's cover of Diamond Dogs either.

This reminiscent of his work off of Golden Feelings and A Western Harvest Field by Moonlight. Some very good songs on them mixed with some experimental arrangements that aren't particularly interesting. This time with more budget and more instruments of course.
posted by juiceCake at 8:30 PM on February 11, 2013


having given it some thought, I can't help but feel it would work way better if I didn't know beforehand that it was a version of Sound + Vision. That is, the big surprise of the piece is when it shifts suddenly from avant dynamics to ... that song I love. Except I was waiting for it. So meh when there should been wow.
posted by philip-random at 12:47 AM on February 12, 2013


« Older "The stubby (or steinie) in many ways embodied all...  |  6 Fast Food Mashups Worse Than... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments