#162 – The Golden Age

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Artist – Beck
Album – Sea Change
Year – 2002
Genre – Alternative Rock

Well it sure feels good to be back! I’m not going to waste too much time with chit chat, as you can see what I’ve been up to in my last post. But Beck’s “The Golden Age” is most definitely my favorite song of his, and it’s been on my mind for the past couple of days, and now I finally have the time to review it for you guys, so let’s get back in the saddle.

A nice and crisp acoustic strumming pattern opens the song and really puts you in that chill mood that Beck has the tendency to do. You get some slide guitar thrown in there to give the whole song a nice western vibe, and this leads straight into my favorite part of the song. There’s this absolutely gorgeous and melancholic melody played over guitar and xylophone, and it just has this sad, rich quality to it that really brings the song into the sensitive sphere where it needs to be.

Beck’s vocals from the start are soft an gentle, but they echo across the landscape as if he’s singing to the open desert which he’s driving through. His melodies carry you along and really relax you, though this is indeed a very painful song when you look at the lyrics. This is a song about needing to clear your head after a break up or the loss of love. Beck’s mournful voice shows that he’s a tired man with a lot of sadness on his mind. It’s the kind of sadness that cuts you to the core, with words like:

These day I barely get by
I don’t even try

The slow, driving verses feel raw and honest, and the atmospheric texture combined with the acoustic guitar really keeps the atmosphere heavy, but also keeps it interesting. Right at the end, after the second chorus, the song goes back to that beautiful melody from the beginning, and it feels even more potent than from before. He’s spilled his feelings to us, and now that melody almost sounds like tears falling. It’s quite something to hear in the context of the song, and a fitting close to an incredible song.

Beck’s Sea Change was regarded as one of his best. It’s an emotional and raw record, and there’s no better example of this than “The Golden Age.” It’s one of those songs where you really feel it can relate to your sadness. At least that’s what I think.

But what do you think? Let me know what you thought of the song in the comments!

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