Beck’s last effort, 2017’s Colours, won him many critical accolades and awards. He took home three Grammy’s including the converted Best Alternative Album title beating out strong opposition from the likes of Bjork and St. Vincent. However, the fan reaction to the album was more mixed. While Beck has always defined expectations and experimented with genres, many fans found the more simplistic pop-stylings on Colours to be a disappointment.
Unfortunately, Hyperspace is in many ways a more radio friendly album than Colours. Co-produced by Pharrell Williams and featuring guest spots from synth-pop star Sky Ferreira, the album feels very much like one made to appeal to their demographics.
That is not to say this is a bad album. Far from it. It features some of the best compositions of Beck’s post Sea Change career. Tracks like the album’s opener ‘Hyperlife’ ‘Dark Places’ are as clean, airy and melancholy as anything on Guero or Morning Phase while ‘Saw Lightning’ and ‘Die Waiting’ see Beck at his funky, folky, harmonica playing best. The albums closer ‘Everlasting’ is also it’s best moment. The most folky track on the album, ‘Everlasting’ showcases what Beck is capable of at his finest.
"That is not to say this is a bad album. Far from it"
The album does suffer from some filler tracks. Songs in the middle third of the album such as ‘Chemical’, ‘See Through’ and ‘Stratosphere’ are fine, but mostly forgettable, lacking the inventiveness and smoothness we now expect from Beck.
Overall, Hyperspace is an album that will please those who only discovered Beck in the last decade or so, and as far as the synth-pop genre is concerned, Beck is now where it’s at. However, for me it is not one I will revisit often. As a long-time fan of Beck, his transition from the self-proclaimed indie-punk ‘Loser’ of the 90’s underground, to Grammy award-winning darling of the mainstream is a little disheartening. Hyperspace sees that journey completed. I fear that loser may now be lost to the cool clique forever.