Either Beck is a total genius or he has become completely crazy. Musicians don’t sell albums anymore, everybody is downloading them for free, and the music business is failing. But Beck has found a way, well may be.
Beck’s official website has confirmed that Beck’s next album will come ‘in an almost-forgotten form – twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded’.
Sheet music? Who can read sheet music? Certainly not me! Here are the details:
‘Complete with full-color, heyday-of- home-play-inspired art for each song and a lavishly produced hardcover carrying case (and, when necessary, ukelele notation), the Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012—an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that’s as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together.
The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author, but if you want to hear “Do We? We Do,” or “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard,” bringing them to life depends on you.
BECK HANSEN’S SONG READER features original art from Marcel Dzama (who created the imagery for Beck’s acclaimed Guero), Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, and many more, as well as an introduction by Jody Rosen (Slate, The New York Times) and a foreword by Beck. The package measures 9.5” x 12.5” with 108 pages comprising 20 individual full-color song booklets—18 featuring original lyrics, and 2 instrumentals—with covers from more than a dozen different artists.’
Let me think about it, the songs exist but you have to perform them to actually listen to them? I don’t read music, cannot even play an instrument and I will only get to hear amateur versions of fans’ renditions of the songs posted on McSweeney’s website? This is insane, we don’t even know if Beck has recorded these songs, or if he will only perform them live. This is an idea that is sure to seduce every aspiring musician, but how are we going to review this new album?
The Song Reader will be available December 2012, but I take this as a joke, or rather a big, however polite, fuck-you to the situation of the music industry. But it’s crazy, as crazy as a restaurant serving you a written recipe instead of a real meal.