Chemtrails (song)

"Chemtrails" is a 2008 single by American musician Beck. The song, taken from his eleventh studio album, Modern Guilt, was released digitally on June 22, 2008.

Single by Beck
from the album Modern Guilt
B-side"Vampire Voltage No. 6"
ReleasedJune 22, 2008
LabelDGC Records
Songwriter(s)Beck Hansen
Producer(s)Danger Mouse
Beck singles chronology
"Gamma Ray"

The artwork for the single uses a design based on Houndstooth patterning.

Release and receptionEdit

"Chemtrails" was premiered by Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 on May 19, 2008.[1] The song was made available to stream from Beck's official website and his MySpace.[1][2] The song was available to download on June 22, 2008, or a day later in the United States, as well as a pre-order of Modern Guilt.[3][4] The song's title refers to the chemtrail conspiracy theory, as do the lyrics: "I can't believe/What we've seen outside/You and me/Watching the jets go by".[5]

The critical reception for "Chemtrails" was highly positive. Kitty Empire of The Observer compared the "beautiful" song to a clash between The Beatles and My Bloody Valentine.[6] USA Today featured the song on its weekly playlist, complimenting Beck's "eerie falsetto over slow-building industrialized Radiohead-like ambience."[7] Billboard said that "Beck's falsetto singing rides along a bouncing bassline and crashing drums, with Danger Mouse's trademark production touches filing [sic] the crannies."[1] Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal called it "the record's best psych-rock showing" and the song featured "a wicked drum exhibition"[8] The song was described as "trippy" by MTV News.[9] "Chemtrails" received high praise for "its woozy textures ... with Beck's distracted vocal and a busy drum track complementing each other perfectly."[10] James Lawrenson, writing for ClickMusic, said the song was "like a more electrified Sea Change, ambient and slightly sombre, but beautiful nonetheless." The review described the song's "synth washes and sparse instrumentation" as creating "an airy, atmospheric feel."[11]

As promotion for the album, limited edition copies of a "Chemtrails" 7" were distributed to independent record stores and were given to customers upon purchase of the album. The B-side is a song entitled "Vampire Voltage No. 6". Copies made in the UK were pressed on glow-in-the-dark white vinyl, while copies made for the US were pressed on standard black vinyl.[12]

In Italy, this song is used as the theme song to L'era glaciale ("The Ice Age", not to be confused with the film Ice Age), a talk show hosted by Italian TV personality Daria Bignardi on Rai 2, which was aired between 20 March and 4 December 2009.

"Chemtrails" was likely influenced by Aphrodite's Child's song The Four Horsemen, which has a similar structure,[13]

Track listingEdit

Digital download[14]
  1. "Chemtrails" – 4:39
  1. "Chemtrails" – 4:39
  2. "Vampire Voltage No. 6" – 2:19



  1. ^ a b c Jonathan Cohen (2008-05-19). "Billboard Bits: Beck, Liz Phair, Bonnaroo". Nielsen Company. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  2. ^ "Beck announces new album tracklisting". NME. IPC Media. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  3. ^ "Beck spreading across the web like a virus". 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  4. ^ "Beck streams new tracks online". NME. IPC Media. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  5. ^ Alex Rayner (2008-06-23). "Beck is back, but what's the conspiracy about chemtrails?". Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  6. ^ Kitty Empire (2008-06-29). "Dangerous times with Beck and the Mouse". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  7. ^ Edna Gundersen (2008-06-02). "This week's playist". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  8. ^ "Beck: Modern Guilt". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  9. ^ "For The Record: Beck, Motley Crue, Michael Jackson & More". MTV News. MTV. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  10. ^ Ben Hogwood (2008-06-08). "Beck — Chemtrails (XL)". Archived from the original on 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  11. ^ James Lawrenson (2008-06-23). "Chemtrails". Archived from the original on 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  12. ^ unknown (2008-07-08). "Disco Quebrado — Beck Discography — Chemtrails". Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  13. ^ Burrows, Tim. "Beck – Modern Guilt". The Quietus. Retrieved 12 April 2016. A most probably intentional homage to "The Four Horsemen".
  14. ^ "Chemtrails — Single". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. 2008-06-22. Retrieved 2008-07-10.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Chemtrails UK 7". Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2008-07-10.

External linksEdit