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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Beck
Guerolito
Interscope

Rating: 5/10 ?


March 3, 2006
By all accounts I am a Guero expert. In the past year, I've downloaded the iTunes exclusive EP, bought the extended CD/DVD version of the album, seen Beck on his Guero tour, and now I find myself listening to the latest format of this shapeshifting record, Guerolito. I'm not sure how this all happened because, in spite of the reverence to it that this paragraph would seem to indicate, Guero didn't hold my attention for very long. It's a pretty good album, but not good enough to warrant the time and money I've devoted to it already.

Guerolito continues this streak with its mediocrity. The cast of characters is impressive; big names like Air and Adrock of the Beasties contribute, as do obscure remixers 8-Bit and Octet. Despite the variety of acts on the disc, the songs are surprisingly uniform in structure: stripped down to Beck's vocals (which are left intact) and rebuilt with a drum machine set to either "monotonous" or "uninspired."

Homelife begins Guerolito by fouling up "E-Pro"'s original exuberance, leaving it with a paper-thin rhythm section. Not even the chunky double bass that comes in towards the song's close can resuscitate the bland mix. Islands and Octet follow suit with "Que Onda Guero" and "Girl" respectively. Air breaks this monotony (sort of) with their take of "Missing," which is of course spacey, stringy and French-sounding. They are able to blend the original track's string instrumentation seamlessly into the remix and add a cowbell that doesn't sound out of place. Still, I prefer the Guero version of this song with it's bossanova groove.

Following Adrock's terrible, terrible version of "Black Tambourine" and Mario C's okay rendition of "Earthquake Weather," old-school enthusiast 8-Bit offers "Ghettochip Malfunction," his remix of "Hell Yes." It's the only song on Guerolito that builds significantly on it's predecessor; choppy, sawtoothed runs jump around Beck's vocals like those little guys from Bubble Bobble. Boards of Canada follow with a "Broken Drum" that beefs up the lethargic song ever so slightly with reversed guitars and spooky synths. "Broken Drum" and "Ghettochip Malfunction" are the only songs on Guerolito that succeed as remixes because they incorporate the remixer's mark in a meaningful way.

The final quarter of the album heads straight downhill. Remixes by El-P, Diplo, John King (of the Dust Brothers) and Subtle range from boring to awful. Subtle's take on "Farewell Ride" is anything but, as he stupidly raps "Have you ever heard a coughing (coffin?) sound?" over the worst beat on the disc. In dropping the bluesy stomp that made the original version stand out, Subtle omits the best aspect of the song, and try as he might to thicken the beat, it still comes off as flat.

At discs end, Beck throws in "Clap Hands," a bonus song from Guero. This song, which isn't a remix, has no place on a remix album, and comes off as a blatant cash grab. I can't understand why Beck would chose to toss this track into the mix unless it is what it feels like - a gift for buying the unnecessary Guerolito. And it's not much of a gift.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown

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