WEB EXCLUSIVE: Beck’s Guerolito a vast improvement on original record

Andrew Gaug

If at first you don’t succeed, just release a remix record and it’ll be all right.

Prior to Guero‘s debut, a 4-track EP titled The Gameboy Variations featuring Nintendo game music-based remixes of songs from the album was released on iTunes and almost ended up having a more lively and energetic production than the original album. This was noticed by Beck and the idea for a remix album was put into play. After gathering remixes from well-known artists such as Air, Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys and Boards of Canada along with more obscure ones like 8-Bit, Diplo and el-P, the album breathes new life into a somewhat disappointing original album.

The album retains the same track list as Guero with a previously released added track, the Odelay-esque “Clap Hands”. It breaks the stereotype that remix albums have set by going above and beyond standard remixing. Many of the remixes actually sound better than the original song. Octet’s remix of “Girl” turns a synthesizer-laced country song into a piano electronica hybrid that sounds better than the untouched effort. Th’ Corn Gangg takes the musically overbearing “Emergency Exit” and turns it into a more calm, synth-pop sound while John King successfully trades in the 60s rock sound of “Rental Car” and replaces it with a fantastic sounding 80s-hip-hop vibe.

Like other remix CDs, Guerolito is inconsistent due to so many different artists working on the songs and that some songs didn’t need the remix treatment in the first place. Ad-Rock adds nothing to an already good “Black Tambourine” besides a thumping bass line that doesn’t really fit the song, while other remixes such as “Que Onda Guero” and “Farewell Ride” would sound much better without “chopped and screwed” influenced back beats.

Overall, Guerolito provides Beck fans with a glimpse of what the album could’ve sounded like if the production had more energy and inspiration behind it. It’s not a flawless effort, but it could give fans the chance to make great mix CD of songs from the original album alongside Guerolito.

Contact ALL correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].