Now that Beck's upcoming album has an official title — The Information — he's been getting busy on a slew of homemade music videos to support the disc, which is due in October.
In keeping with the semi-secretive web he's spun around his upcoming, Nigel Godrich-produced album (see "Beck Giving Fans Sticky Fingers With Quasi-Hip-Hop Album"), Beck broke out the video camera and the green screen — evidently, he has one at home — to film five low-budget clips for songs from the record. The videos are heavy on dudes in top hats and rapping grizzly bears, and feature cameos from his band, a baby and his wife (in a blond wig).
The videos hit the Internet late Monday and are reportedly part of a larger project Beck undertook: to film a clip for every song on The Information. Though his record label, Interscope, would not confirm the information, England's New Musical Express reported that Beck plans to release all the videos on a DVD to be packaged along with the new album.
Regardless, the leaked videos offer fans the first real listen — aside from various unofficial live recordings — to material from the new LP. The songs featured in the videos are "This Girl," "1,000 BPM," "No Complaints" and "Movie Theme." A fifth song, a gently strummed semi-acoustic number, remains unidentified.
The video for "This Girl" features Beck dressed as a sorta-cowboy, robbing members of his band — who are dressed rather like members of Abraham Lincoln's Cabinet — while his wife, actress Marissa Ribisi, dances in the background. Musically, the tune is a bumping, thumping rambler, reminiscent of "Hotwax," from 1996's Odelay, and features a chorus in which Beck sings, "This girl, that I know/ I met her at a Jodeci show."
"1,000 BPM," a banging, junkyard-funk booty-shaker, is accompanied by a clip that showcases Beck rapping in a bear suit — just like he did during his performance at Bonnaroo in June (see "Radiohead Marathon, Beck Puppet Show, Partial Phish Jam Mix It Up At Bonnaroo") — while bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen busts out some partial robot moves.
"No Complaints" is buoyed by a summery strummed guitar and Beck's sleepy-man falsetto, with a video that features a baby being swung around by a bear in a poncho. "Movie Theme" is a trippy, almost atmospheric meditation on everyday life (Beck's heavily echoed vocals mention wandering the aisles of the supermarket), and the video is equally psychedelic: a pulsating, repeated ad infinitum image of Beck's head singing along to the music.
In addition to the five videos, another clip from the new LP, for the song "Nausea," has been making the rounds on YouTube. The video, which features footage of kids skateboarding, is taken from the upcoming documentary "1st and Hope," which, according to Interscope is a street-skateboarding film in the spirit of the seminal 1966 surfing flick "The Endless Summer," directed by Brian Lotti and the Malloys and featuring "new and old" songs from Beck. It's slated for a DVD release via Interscope this November.