As much as I am loathe to do so, I have to begin getting back into my regular fartlek runs and this evening, is my first stab at recouping my once proud run fitness. It’s certainly not going to be pretty, but I’m going to give it the ‘ol college try. This evenings soundtrack out and back along Thunder Bay Rd. once again is the ‘Midnite Vultures‘ album by Beck.
Okay, so it’s Dad Rock.
By calling the muted psychedelic folk-rock, blues, and Tropicalia of ‘Mutations‘ a stopgap, Beck set expectations for this album unreasonably high. Ironically, ‘Midnite Vultures’ doesn’t feel like a sequel to ‘Odelay‘ – it’s a genre exercise, like ‘Mutations‘.
This time, Beck delves into soul, funk, and hip-hop, touching on everything from Stax/Volt to Prince as his home base. He’s eschewed samples, more or less, but not the aesthetic. Even when a song is reminiscent of a particular style, it’s assembled in strange, exciting ways.
As it kicks off with ‘Sexx Laws‘, it’s hard not to get caught up in the rush, and ‘Nicotine & Gravy‘ carries on the vibe expertly, as does the party jam ‘Mixed Bizness‘ and the full-on electro workout ‘Get Real Paid‘, an intoxicating number to be sure for doing fartlek intervals too.
So far, so good – the songs are tight, catchy, and memorable, the production dense. Then comes ‘Hollywood Freaks‘. The self-conscious gangsta goof is singularly irritating, not least because of Beck’s affected voice. It’s the first on ‘Midnite Vultures‘ to feel like a parody, and it’s such an awkward, misguided shift in tone that it colors the rest of the album. Tributes now sound like send-ups, allusions that once seemed affectionate feel snide, and the whole thing comes off as a little jive. Musically, this album is filled with wonderful little quirks, but these are undercut by the sneaking suspicion that for all the ingenuity, it’s just a hipster joke. Humor has always been a big part of Beck’s music, but it was gloriously absurd, never elitist, and here it’s delivered with a smug smirk, undercutting whatever joy the music generates.
So suckiness of doing fast intervals aside, I’m quite proud of today’s 9.53k run as it represents my first real effort back to my regular weekly fartlek workouts with 5 x (2 minutes HARD / 3 minutes easy) completed. It may not have been pretty as I aforementioned but I’m pleased that nothing out of the ordinary hurt whilst doing it. I even thought about doing some 30 second sprints that would typically go along with this workout but decided to not to push it and error on the side of caution and leave those as next weeks goal.
So, now, we’ll just have to see how Thursday run goes.
Knock on wood.