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Guero [UMD for PSP]
Actor: Beck
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2005

AUDIO TRACKS:E-ProQue Onda GueroGirlMissingBlack TambourineEarthquake WeatherHell YesBroken DrumScarecrowGo It AloneFarewell RideRental CarEmergency ExitBONUS AUDIO TRACKS:Send a Message to HerChain ReactionClap HandsGirl...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Beck
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Studio: Interscope Records
Format: UMD for PSP - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/13/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

Que onda?
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 03/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Beck is one of the musicians that you can really call an artist -- he grows, experiments, and works tirelessly on... whatever he's doing next. "Guero" (meaning "white boy") is a glorious, fun album that runs the gamut from distortion rock to Latin hip-hop. It's like a glorious musical collage.

It kicks off with the funky, distorted "e-Pro," which seems to hint at the style and attitude of Beck's "Midnight Vultures." From there he slips effortlessly into steady rock'n'roll set with electronica flourishes, some blues, country, a dash of funk, and a bit of retro pop. A little of this, a little of that, mix and bake at four hundred degrees.

However, Beck seems to try to give "Guero" a Latin flavor to match the title: in one song he raps in Spanish, while he gives a bossa nova flavor to "Missing." There's mentions of mariachi bands, Spanglish and Latin guitars. With that new influence, he does a nearly perfect job of expanding his talents, trying out new tricks and tunes while keeping one foot in the territory of his past albums.

Beck has done it all: He's been a folkie, a melancholy lover, a rocker, and a dancefloor weirdo. Now -- perhaps because of his marriage and baby -- he seems comfortable as a musician, dipping back to his previous albums and his childhood in East L.A. The result is one of the freshest albums that he has made in years.

Given the dozen or so musical styles that get thrown into the mix here, it wouldn't have been surprising if "Guero" had ended up sounding choppy. But startlingly, it doesn't. Instead, the bits of Latin music, funk and rock keep the wildly different songs linked together, like a colorful but fragmented painting that is held together with bright scotch tape.

Not that marriage and daddyhood have changed Beck's pensive, melancholy style. His downbeat songwriting sits quietly in that place between self-pity and self-examination: In one song, he laments that "The sun burned a hole in my roof/I can't seem to fix it/And I hope rain doesn't come/Wash me down the gutter." Interpret it as you will.

Beck is still in fine form in "Guero," utilizing plenty of musical styles to create one of the best indierock albums of the year so far. This "white boy" knows exactly where he's going."
Death and the Fax Machine
Mark C. Grueter | New York, New York | 04/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Armageddon will be a full on nuclear war between Brookstone and The Sharper Image." - Beck, the Hiro Ballroom of New York's Maritime Hotel, April 19th, 2005

Recently, scores of badly written and poorly imagined articles have materialized on the subject of Beck Hansen. Every couple years, Beck releases a new album and our music critics, eager to meet deadlines, invoke time-tested sound bites and clichés to demonstrate a supposed awareness of the artist's work. "Eclectic," "ironic," "pastiche," and "postmodern," are four words any assumed expert can safely get away with to describe Beck's music.

Is Beck returning to his Odelay roots? (One of the Big questions asked in your standard review). Because the Dust Brothers produced Beck's new album Guero, there's nothing wrong with critics making comparisons to the other Beck/Dust Brothers creation, 1996's Odelay. Unfortunately, the occasion paved the way for many pseudo-discoveries. For instance, several tone deaf and indolent reviews - no doubt mimicking one another - claim Guero's opening song "E-Pro" sounds just like "Devil's Haircut" from Odelay. While others say "E-Pro" sounds just like "Novocaine" from Odelay. So...which is it? Surely it cannot be both, as "Devil's Haircut" and "Novocaine" do not sound alike. It leads to the inevitable conclusion: "E-Pro," a uniquely weird tune cluttered with a chorus of "na na/na na nas" and co-written by the Beastie Boys, sounds like neither Odelay track.

In fact, after listening to this album for almost a month now, I feel safe writing that Guero does not sound anymore like Odelay than it does Mutations, just as it does not sound any more like Midnite Vultures as it does Sea Change. What is notable is that Guero, in many ways, brings together many of the complexities which superficially differentiate all the other albums.

The lack of time and thought put into a timed review often leads to mischaracterization. Proving yet again that it ought to stick to hilarious parodies, The Onion (in it's A.V. club) thinks Beck, at the end of the song "Que Onda Guero" is "making fun of easy targets" when we hear the names of Michael Bolton and Yanni shouted out in the backdrop. The poor reviewer in question, Keith Phipps, is confused. If he bothered to conduct a little research on Beck's bio, he would've known Beck grew up in a Latino neighborhood in East L.A. and was one of the only white kids at his school. The song "Que Onda Guero" (roughly "where are you going, white boy?") portrays the atmosphere in which Beck was teased - as a goofy-looking, guitar playing minority walking down the street. In between the Bolton and Yanni references, we also hear the words "James Joyce" (conveniently ignored by Phipps) uttered. The originator of Ulysses must be another one of Beck's easy targets...or not.

We also hear a Latino man asking, "What's up Guero? Have you been working out? Been doing push-ups?" And these jeers are accompanied by random references to "mullets" and a "ceramics class" - all of which make clear what the song is actually about. But Phipps is desperate to earn his paycheck somehow, while covering up for the fact that he does not know what he's talking about, as again shown in his trenchant conclusion of Guero: "It sounds okay, sometimes even better than okay, but it doesn't stir much passion, unlike even the most irony-entrenched Beck albums of the past." Thanks for the tip, Kev.

A better question might have been: is Beck still bitter from those experiences? The song doesn't feel as though he is, and certainly Beck has long embraced Latino culture - his many Spanish lyrics are not employed with any impish intent. "Que Onda Guero" is an impressionistic stroll through the very neighborhood he grew up in. "See the vegetable man in the vegetable van with a horn that's honking like a mariachi band," Beck raps to get things started. Upbeat, layered music bounces along while Beck observes things like, "TJ cowboys...sleeping in the sidewalk with a burger king crown" and "Guatemalan soccer ball instant replays."

In fact, it's the only track on Guero where both the music and lyrics carry an authentically fun and playful rhythm. Just about every other song stresses death and/or despair as its motivating theme. In track 3, "Girl," Beck first seduces, then kills an unsuspecting female. He spots her, "walking crooked down the beach/she spits on the sand where the bones are bleaching," and thinks, "I know I'm gonna steal her eye/she doesn't even know what's wrong/and I know I'm gonna make her die/take her where her soul belongs."

But these harrowing lyrics are couched behind endlessly catchy, swinging pop music, and also interspersed with a dramatic chorus refrain, "My (something) Girl!" It's the one song non-Beck-fans will like because of it's feel-good, ear candy pose. Another quibble though: many reviewers simply assume Beck sings "My Summer Girl!" in the chorus despite the lyrics on the sleeve which read only, "my...girl" - leaving the line open for interpretation. The missed lyric sounds more like "sonar" or "sun-eyed" to me and the truth is almost certainly more mysterious - since the word was deliberately deleted out - than the reviewers would have it.

After "Girl," the album only becomes darker. Beck repeatedly hits upon his now familiar themes of emptiness, not being able to pay rent (success has evidently done nothing to vanquish this fear), romantic obsessions ("I prayed/heaven today/would bring it's hammer down on me/and pound you/out of my head/I can't think with you in it"). But mostly it is the concept of death which defines Guero: "sharks smell the blood that I'm bleeding," "crows are pulling at my clothes," "two white horses in a line/carrying me to my burying ground" - and that's a fairly random sampling.

None of this, of course, is entirely new for Beck (who long ago sang, "I know, I know, it's the positive people running from their time, looking for some feeling") - just one more foot deeper in the grave. But with previous albums (save Sea Change) there was a clearer attempt to mix offbeat humor in with the grimness: "I was sitting at home cooking up a steak/Satan came down dressed like a snake/well he called my name as I turned up the flame and then I realized I was out of mayonnaise...Yeah, don't go throwing no coupons on my grave/don't go carving no happy face on tombstone," declares Beck on 1994's Stereopathetic Soulmanure.

Even "Hell Yes," the only techno/hip-hop song, eschews the overt satire of its cousins on 1999's Midnite Vultures (most obviously "Hollywood Freaks" which begins, "Hot milk/mmm...tweak my nipple/champagne and ripple/shamans go cripple/my sales go triple") and leaves us with not only random, but a seemingly stainless collection of images: "Looking for my place on assembly lines/fake prizes risin'/out of the bombholes." But there is a sort of understated, brilliance to this funk track, more easily appreciated after several listenings. It effortlessly encapsulates almost everything he was attempting on Midnite Vultures. "Duck don't look now company missiles/power is raunchy/rent-a-cops are watching" or my favorite, "perfunctory idols rewriting their bibles...lives in white out/turn the lights out/fax machine anthems/get your damn hands up!"

Legend has it Beck used to bust up an answering machine onstage, immediately after singing a song about, well, an answering machine. I wonder if the fax machine has now replaced the answering one in Beck's milieu? Beck is preoccupied, not only with death, but with machines of all sorts, gadgets, robots and computers. Each album features multiple experiments with makeshift instruments and obscure technologies.

However, the "mature" Beck is, in most senses, now committed to more traditional song crafting. The psychedelic primal screaming and musical junkyard cacophony of earlier albums (elements that were appealing partly because of their un-musicality) have been almost entirely purged. This is understandable. However, his continued obsessions with death, depression and damnation are not as easily comprehensible. The candid, lonely music of Sea Change was written after Beck found out his years-long girlfriend had been cheating on him. Fine. But Beck is married now, with a kid. Shouldn't he finally be happy, you might ask? (Especially if it's true he has become an adherent of the positivist cult Scientology. His wife has, for certain; the book is still out on Beck himself, but Scientology seems like the sort of "religion" which demands both partners participate. How else could Kelly Preston, for instance, be able to stay with the insufferable John Travolta?). Well, either way, I'm glad he is not "happy." It's nice to see that ostensible contentment has not made Beck complacent, or any less interesting or hungry than he was during his drug-influenced, poverty-stricken youth.

Overall, how does Guero rate within the oeuvre? For me, as with most good things in life, it depends on timing and mood. One day I might prefer Mellow Gold, the next Mutations, so it's premature, if not entirely the wrong question to even ask. However, at this moment, it strikes me as Beck's most compelling and gripping work to date.

(Standout tracks include the aforementioned "Que Onda Guero," "Girl" and "Hell Yes." Other notables: the magnificently bleak "Farewell Ride," the breakup song, "Broken Drum," (chilling, played live) and the hypnotic "Rental Car," which is perhaps the grandest of the whole lot)."
Beck Glows Without Too Much Glare On This Gem!!
Dolly Llama | 11/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Once again, everyone's favorite funky Scientologist bares a slice of his soul for all to see, but only through a kaleidoscope of electronic spatters and freestyle lyrics, and to rather mixed response. Many of Beck's loyal fans have complained that there is nothing original on this album, that each song is only a rehashing of a higher-quality past work. But in my opinion, Guero is one of Beck's most subtly crafted, enjoyable works to date.

I really recommend this album to anyone who's heard a bit of this musical mastermind and would like to get an idea of what he's all about. Those previously mentioned loyal fans lament that this CD is like a compressed version of all past albums, but hey, what's wrong with that? Guero would be a delightful shot of flavor to any extensive collection or a great introduction to Beck's eclectic talent.

Guero could very well be a soundtrack to anyone's day. It runs the gamut from...
... bass-driven and consistent (E-Pro, Black Tambourine). lofty and electronic (Missing, Earthquake Weather, Broken Drum, Emergency Exit). delightfully upbeat (Rental Car includes a random Bambi-inspired la-la-la chorus, and Girl's video-game-love-on-the-beach quality makes up for the vaguely sadistic lyrics).
... to all attitude (shadowy Hell Yes is like a rusty robotic porn groove, Que' Onda Guero mixes car horns "honking like a mariachi band" with Spanglish shoutdowns, Go It Alone is simple but driving)
... to Farewell Ride, with its understated lyrics about "two white horses in a line," bone-jangling guitar and antihero tone, is probably one of Beck's best songs to date.
... to Missing and Scarecrow, which don't exactly meet the craziness standards you normally expect from Beck, but they are also very good and maintain the album's consistency.

In short, after releases like the fun, raunchy but insincere Midnite Vultures and the poignant but rather dull Sea Change, Beck has finally found a delightful middle ground. His knack for genre disdain shines through in his techno-folk-freak instrumentals, but his lyrics are toned down just enough to give each song a definite theme, without sacrificing the bit of insanity we've all come to love and expect. This CD is a definite gem and truly has something for everyone who's not afraid of something that's a little genius, a little funky, and a whole lotta awesome."
Beck on Beck
Q | Hartford, CT USA | 04/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"People who have been listening to Beck for the past ten years know that Beck's albums tend to stand on their own individually, each one sounding thematically/tonally different than the one that preceded it. The reviews here evidence this. Despite these different themes and tones, Beck's songs are always decidedly "Beck sounding," regardless of whether you are listening to a ballad from Sea Change/Mutations, or a high-paced, beat driven song from Odelay/Midnight Vultures. In other words, the albums are all united by a difficult-to-describe, but very recognizable, "Beck sound," regardless of whether that sound is manifesting itself in the form of jazz/funk/electronica, hip-hop, pop-folk, country, or some other genre of music. This album fits perfectly with its pedigree. All of the songs on Guero are decidedly Beck sounding. It doesn't sound more like Odelay than it does like Sea Change. It doesn't sound more like Mutations than it does like Midnight Vultures. Rather, it sounds as if Beck recorded this new album in order to capture the subtle similarities that unite all of his prior works. Guero combines the best aspects of all of Beck's prior works, and it stands as Beck's smart response to the people who like to harp on the differences between them. Clearly, Beck is a smart man. If you like his prior work, you should enjoy this album just as much as you enjoyed all of his previous ones."