Morning Phase

Beck - Morning Phase
Critic Score
Based on 41 reviews
2014 Ratings: #100 / 956
Year End Rank: #16
User Score
Based on 415 ratings
2014 Ratings: #287
Liked by 4 people
February 25, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Capitol / Label
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Pretty Much Amazing

Beck’s voice, most often doubled and sometimes tripled, omnipresent and in conversation with itself, binds and elevates this, his most consistently exceptional album since Odelay


Whether his melancholy morning is a phase or part of a larger cycle to which he may return in the future (the latter is more likely), Beck proves once again here that he’s a tremendously versatile artist, capable of excelling throughout the musical spectrum.

Under The Radar

This is the most refreshed Beck has sounded in a decade; it's his best album in that much time, easily, and sure to be instantly beloved by fans who hold Sea Change to be his crowning work. 

Rolling Stone
The result is a set that feels like an instant folk-rock classic.

Though it’s ridiculous to rank an album within an artist’s body of work on the day of its release ... I’m going to go ahead and do exactly that and place Morning Phase on Beck’s top shelf, alongside Odelay! and Sea Change.

Consequence of Sound

Like Sea Change and Mutations before it, this LP’s songs are simple enough, but the arrangements are not, full of orchestral swells and studio tricks that recall Nigel Godrich long after his collaboration with Beck has ended.

A.V. Club

It’s not as good as Sea Change, but that it’s anywhere close—and it is—means it’s doing something right.

The 405

Morning Phase is a terrific mood piece and a worthy follow-up, even if in spirit only, to Sea Change; it lacks the gripping unease of that album, but replaces it capably with genuine warmth and a sunnier outlook.

American Songwriter

Given that Morning Phase reveals similarly raw honesty and engrossing emotion – plus bears the mark of superior penmanship gained by a decade’s more patience and wisdom, the album is poised to be revered as one of Beck’s most potent collections.

Drowned in Sound

Here on Morning Phase though, it seems there’s something more reflective going on, something older, wiser and a bit more philosophical.


While the earlier LP was harrowing in its soul-searching melancholia, Morning Phase is warm and soothing, its tone coming across as beautifully bittersweet rather than overtly depressing.


That there’s nothing particularly ‘new’ about ‘Morning Phase’ is by no means a fault: this is acoustic Beck, and it’s acoustic Beck at his most sublime.


It couples a moody sort of glamour with a concrete feeling of loneliness, and it makes for some of the most affecting comedown folk you’re likely to hear all year.


This is Beck the Echo Park hoodrat shrugging aside the multicultural L.A. Basin he once supposedly exemplified in favor of the toked-out vibrations of 1970s Malibu, Topanga Canyon, and Point Mugu.


Morning Phase is that comeback story, that emergence from the water and that first breath taken with the gusto of someone knowing they are truly alive. It is a beautiful record, and maybe a little over-simplified at its weakest moments, straddling that line between clean and bare.

No Ripcord

The Beck we find in Morning Phase depicts a weary soul resting in a hammock as he explores his transcendental spiritual existence, rather than the sprightly blue-eyed cockatoo that was starting to find his groove again after an almost-defeating spinal injury. 

Time Out London
A 12-song cycle set in the tender, uncertain hours of dawn, it bathes in the ’70s West Coast vibe of Beck’s youth, with dew-spangled guitars and psychedelic melodies slowly turning their crumpled faces to the sun.
Slant Magazine
It represents not only a return to form, but also serves as one of his most graceful efforts, the chronicle of an aging songwriter left devastated by the depth of his own loneliness.

Beck has swapped sorrow for mere melancholy, a shift in attitude that makes this 2014 album sweeter than its predecessor, a distinction sometimes distinguished by moments where words, traditionally the sadness signifiers for sensitive troubadours, are washed away by cascading waves of candy-colored sound. 

The Line of Best Fit

Morning Phase may not be the most forward-thinking entry in Beck’s chamelionic canon, and its attempts to live up to the bare-bones stylings of his last “folk” album fall somewhat short.

The Fly

Personally, we’ve never been persuaded of Beck’s merits as a straight-up singer-songwriter — his voice is too thin and reedy, his lyrics too ordinary when shorn of the self-conscious Dadaist jive — but give a fella his due, he knows his way round a melody


While he's apparently working on another genre-jumping LP, his new album, Morning Phase, is not that record. Instead of a much-needed daring comeback statement, it's more like a pointed exhale. It feels safe.


At the end of things, Morning Phase remains exceedingly lovely but disappointedly insubstantial; not a sea change at all, but just another passing phase in a career that’s made a specialty of them.


Morning Phase may not be the out-and-out masterpiece that everyone says it is, but anytime we are blessed with a very-good Beck album, the world is all the richer because of it.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Largely unimaginative arrangements, flat delivery, a surfeit of vague ecological metaphors that wash like spray on the rocks (you can have that one for free, Mr. Hansen), and a lack of any sense of connection, of need, of reality. 

Screw y'all, I'll be considering Beck "team Taylor" on my list after that incident at the Grammys.
In every case, I thought the album would be more ambient-infused than anything while listening to the first track. I do wish it had more of it, though, as my experience with the "singer-songwriter" genre isn't so good after going through all of Shawn Mendes' albums, you know. This has country, this has folk pop/rock (I'm not sure this time, bear with me), but at the same ... read more
O Egas e o Becas também fazem música de funeral
Sad Beck is my favorite Beck. This album is warm and comforting. At its best, it feels like waves of sunlight enveloping your face. Beck turns the lush dial up to 12, which is fine and dandy but sometimes the album seems comically reflective. I still think it is a beautiful album.
So consistent and sticky and soberingly beautiful that I can't even believe it. Like a sun that rises through a long, long, long night, bringing all the clarity in the world with it. An all timer.
KInd of cool to here Beck go in this direction but still sort of falls flat. I think Beck can easily capture and atmosphere and tone but doesn't quite make use of it. This album is a whole lotta mood without much substance.

Best Track: Waking Light
Worst Track: Phase
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Track List

  1. Cycle
  2. Morning
  3. Heart Is A Drum
  4. Say Goodbye
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Unforgiven
  7. Wave
  8. Don't Let It Go
  9. Blackbird Chain
  10. Phase
  11. Turn Away
  12. Country Down
  13. Waking Light
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Added on: December 24, 2013