Guero is the ninth studio album by American musician Beck, released on March 29, 2005, by Interscope Records. It was produced with John King and Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers, who had worked with Beck on his 1996 album Odelay,[1] as well as Tony Hoffer.[2]

Guero
Guero cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 29, 2005
RecordedSeptember 2003–August 2004
Studio
Genre
Length49:55
LabelInterscope
Producer
Beck chronology
Hell Yes EP
(2005)
Guero
(2005)
Guerolito
(2005)
Singles from Guero
  1. "E-Pro"
    Released: March 14, 2005
  2. "Girl"
    Released: July 4, 2005 (UK)
  3. "Hell Yes"
    Released: 2005

The album was promoted with the singles "E-Pro", "Girl", and "Hell Yes", and debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200. To date, it is Beck's highest-charting album and had sold over 868,000 copies in the United States as of July 2008.[3] It received positive reviews from critics.

BackgroundEdit

Güero (pron. IPA ['wero]) means "blond" in Mexican Spanish, but can also refer to a light-skinned person.[4] MTV described the term as being "Mexican slang for a blond-haired, fair-skinned Caucasian".[5]

Beck was raised in a prominently Chicano area of Los Angeles.[6] In an interview with ABC's Nightline, Beck said the term "guero" was "something that I'd hear growing up. Something I'd hear on the street, walking to school or something, I'd get called a 'Guero'. ... It's just a word that stuck in my head and I wanted to do something with that at some point. ... I ended up, in the end, just kind of doing this almost journalistic kind of look at that whole time."[1]

The title of track 2, "Qué Onda Guero" (or "¿Qué onda, güero?"), is Mexican slang for "what up, whitey?"[5]

RecordingEdit

The album was recorded over a period of nine months, following a year and a half of touring in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.[1] Several other events contributed to the writing of the songs, including the suicide of Beck's friend Elliott Smith and Beck's impending child with wife Marissa Ribisi.[1] The song "Broken Drum" is dedicated to Smith. More than 15 songs were considered for the final running order of the album.[2]

"Hell Yes" features spoken contributions from Christina Ricci, who happened to be in the studio at the time of recording. Beck and the Dust Brothers had spent weeks auditioning sushi waitresses around Los Angeles but chose Ricci after she "tried it and just absolutely nailed it". She is credited as "Kurisuti-na" in the album's liner notes.[7]

Jack White of the White Stripes plays bass on "Go It Alone". Money Mark, solo artist and keyboardist for the Beastie Boys, plays the organ on "Earthquake Weather". Petra Haden, formerly of That Dog and the Rentals, provides an intricate backing vocal track for "Rental Car".

ReleaseEdit

Guero was initially intended to be released on October 26, 2004, but was pushed back, due to delays with the artwork, mixing and music videos.[2] An unmixed and un-mastered version of the album was leaked in January 2005, under the title Ubiquitous. The track listing differed slightly from the officially announced track listing of Guero.[5] On February 1, Beck released the Hell Yes EP on iTunes, which included remixes of the title track and "Que Onda Guero" by 8-bit and "E-Pro" and "Girl" by Paza.[8] On March 10, five songs from the forthcoming album were featured in an episode of The O.C.[6][1]

Guero was released on March 29.[9] The album was released simultaneously in three formats: a standard 13-track CD, PlayStation Portable UMD[citation needed] and a deluxe CD/DVD edition. The latter featured seven bonus tracks, a surround sound mix and interactive video art for each song.[10]

Later in 2005, Beck released an album of Guero remixes called Guerolito, featuring remixes by Boards of Canada, Octet, the Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock and the Dust Brothers' John King.[11]

"Black Tambourine" was featured in the David Lynch film Inland Empire, the trailer for the film (500) Days of Summer, and episode 22 of season 4 of The Good Wife, as well as the 2006 video game Lumines II, and the video game Driver: San Francisco. "Farewell Ride" was featured in FX trailers promoting the final season of The Shield.

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic78/100[12]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [13]
Blender     [14]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[15]
The Guardian     [16]
The Independent     [17]
NME8/10[18]
Pitchfork6.6/10[19]
Q     [20]
Rolling Stone     [21]
SpinB[22]

CommercialEdit

Guero debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 2, marking Beck's best chart performance to date, and sold 162,000 copies in its first week.[23] It was certified gold by the RIAA on June 7, 2005.[24]

CriticalEdit

Guero received generally positive reviews from critics, holding a Metascore of 78 on Metacritic. Several critics compared the album—either positively or negatively—to Beck's 1996 album Odelay,[19][17][16] while others observed that such comparisons were inevitable but ultimately misguided.[21][15]

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone called the album "the first record since Odelay where Beck mixes up the medicine the way he did in his Nineties prime". Contrasting the album with the "wiseass charisma" of his early albums, Sheffield noted that Beck now sounded "like an extremely bummed-out dude who made it to the future and discovered he hates it there."[21] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly called Guero "alive and frisky" when compared to its predecessor, Sea Change (2002), and called it Beck's "most inviting, least off-putting work in years", praising its "slightly broader emotional range". Browne stated that the album felt "simultaneously familiar and new" and was "the first record on which the many moods and sides of Beck coexist".[15] Andy Gill of The Independent observed that "Beck darts around the musical map like an animated flea," and praised the album's "judicious blends of beats, riffs, songs and raps spiralling off in a variety of directions". Gill highlighted the song "Missing" and its "reflections on the essential patchwork incompleteness of life", comparing it to Beck's work on the whole, "which typically makes unorthodox wholes from diverse fragments."[17]

Conversely, Rob Mitchum of Pitchfork gave the album a mixed review and compared the album extensively to Odelay, stating, "one wonders whether Mr. Hansen's heart is in the proceedings, as many of the songs appear to be little more than weak echoes of their similar predecessors". Mitchum concluded that "the final result feels rote and calculated."[19]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[25]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."E-Pro"Beck Hansen, Dust Brothers, Beastie Boys3:22
2."Qué Onda Guero"Hansen, Dust Brothers3:29
3."Girl"Hansen, Dust Brothers3:30
4."Missing"Hansen, Dust Brothers, Vinicius de Moraes, Carlos Lyra4:44
5."Black Tambourine"Hansen, Dust Brothers, Eugene Blacknell2:46
6."Earthquake Weather"Hansen, Dust Brothers, Slave4:26
7."Hell Yes"Hansen, Dust Brothers3:18
8."Broken Drum"Hansen4:30
9."Scarecrow"Hansen, Dust Brothers4:16
10."Go It Alone"Hansen, Dust Brothers, Jack White4:09
11."Farewell Ride"Hansen4:19
12."Rental Car"Hansen, Dust Brothers3:05
13."Emergency Exit"Hansen, Dust Brothers4:01
Total length:49:55
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No.TitleNotesLength
14."Send a Message to Her"Also on UK, Australian, Russian releases and Japanese tour edition4:31
15."Chain Reaction"Also on UK release and Japanese tour edition3:30
16."Clap Hands"Also on Japanese tour edition3:18
17."Girl" (Remix)Remixed by Octet3:54
18."Broken Drum" (Remix)Remixed by Boards of Canada5:39
19."Still Missing""Missing" remix by Röyksopp4:58
20."Fax Machine Anthem""Hell Yes" remix by Dizzee Rascal3:07

Sample credits

Song Sample Artist
"E-Pro" "So What'cha Want" Beastie Boys
"Missing" "Você e Eu" Claus Ogerman and His Orchestra
"Black Tambourine" "We Know We Gotta Live Together" Eugene Blacknell & The New Breed
"Earthquake Weather" "What It Is?" The Temptations
"Coming Soon", "Just Freak" Slave
"Hell Yes" "Far East Mississippi" The Ohio Players
"Under the Influence of Love" Love Unlimited
"Go It Alone" "Outside Love" Brethren

PersonnelEdit

Musicians
Technical
  • Beck – co-producer (1–13), engineer (1–13), mixing (1–13), string arranger (4, 13), art direction, design
  • The Dust Brothers – co-producers (1–7, 9–10, 12–13), engineers (1–7, 9–10, 12–13), mixing (1–7, 9–10, 12–13)
  • Danny Kalb – engineer (1–7, 9–10, 12–13)
  • Mark Branch – assistant engineer (1–7, 9–10, 12–13)
  • Mike Laza – assistant engineer (1–7, 9–10, 12–13)
  • Brad Breeck – sound designer (1–7, 9–10, 12–13)
  • Nigel Godrich – mixing (3)
  • Dan Grech-Marguerat – mixing engineer (3)
  • Tony Hoffer – co-producer, engineer, mixing (8, 11)
  • Jason Mott – assistant engineer (8, 11)
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • David Campbell – string arrangement (4, 13)
  • Kevin Reagan – art direction, design
  • Marcel Dzama – artwork
  • Melanie Pullen – photo
  • Adam Levite – additional art, front cover layout
  • Elliot Scheiner – surround mix (deluxe edition)

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[44] Gold 50,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[45] Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[47] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Beck Reveals Secrets of 'Guero' to 'Nightline'". ABC News. January 6, 2006. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Perez, Rodrigo (September 16, 2004). "Oh, Delay! New Beck Album Pushed Back To 2005". MTV. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  3. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. 2008-07-18. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  4. ^ "Ask a Mexican: Beck It Up: So, what does guero really mean?". Riverfront Times. October 13, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Perez, Rodrigo (January 19, 2005). "Finished Version Of That Beck LP You Downloaded Due In March". MTV. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Beck stays true to his L.A. roots with 'Guero'". The Daily Sundial. April 19, 2005. Retrieved February 15, 2005.
  7. ^ a b Montgomery, James (August 18, 2005). "Beck's Next Single Features Christina Ricci, A.K.A. 'Kurisuti-na'". MTV. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  8. ^ "Beck Seeing Triple On 'Guero'". Billboard. February 3, 2005. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  9. ^ Sexton, Paul (March 29, 2021). "'Guero': Beck's Stylistic Wanderlust Continues". Udiscovermusic. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  10. ^ Stever, Eric (September 1, 2006). "The Infinite Album". Wired. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  11. ^ "Beck Gathering Up 'Guero' Remixes". Billboard. October 19, 2005. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  12. ^ "Reviews for Guero by Beck". Metacritic. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  13. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Guero – Beck". AllMusic. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  14. ^ "Beck: Guero". Blender (35): 112. April 2005.
  15. ^ a b c Browne, David (March 28, 2005). "Guero". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Lynskey, Dorian (March 18, 2005). "Beck, Guero". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Gill, Andy (March 18, 2005). "Album: Beck". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  18. ^ Cashmore, Pete (March 19, 2005). "Beck : Guero". NME. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c Mitchum, Rob (March 27, 2005). "Beck: Guero". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  20. ^ "Beck: Guero". Q (225): 114. April 2005.
  21. ^ a b c Sheffield, Rob (April 8, 2005). "Guero". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  22. ^ Wolk, Douglas (April 2005). "Beckola". Spin. 21 (4): 97–98. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  23. ^ Sexton, Paul (March 29, 2018). "Best-Ever For Beck On US Charts With 'Guero'". Udiscovermusic. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  24. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  25. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  26. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  27. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Beck – Guero" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beck – Guero" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  29. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beck – Guero" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  30. ^ "Beck Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  31. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  32. ^ "Beck: Guero" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  33. ^ "Lescharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  34. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Beck – Guero". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  35. ^ "Charts.nz – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  36. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  37. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  38. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  39. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  40. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Beck – Guero". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  41. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  42. ^ "Beck Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  43. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2005". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  44. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Beck – Guero". Music Canada.
  45. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Beck – Guero" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 11 September 2019. Select 2005年4月 on the drop-down menu
  46. ^ "British album certifications – Beck – Guero". British Phonographic Industry.
  47. ^ "American album certifications – Beck – Guero". Recording Industry Association of America.

External linksEdit