Finished Version Of That Beck LP You Downloaded Due In March

Unmastered songs from eclectic singer's Guero have surfaced online.

It's arriving a little later than expected, but after a few delays in song selection, Beck now plans to release his new album, Guero, on March 29 — or possibly sooner, to minimize the damage of an Internet leak.

Initially due in October 2004 (see "Oh, Delay! New Beck Album Pushed Back To 2005"), the follow-up to 2002's Sea Change forgoes the melancholy of his last breakup record and finds the Los Angeles native in an upbeat mood with a carefree, stripped-down approach. An unmastered and unfinished version of the record, erroneously titled Ubiquitous, has been floating around online for a few days now.

Produced by Odelay and Midnite Vultures collaborators the Dust Brothers, Guero (Mexican slang for a blond-haired, fair-skinned Caucasian) features 13 tracks that loosely act like a Beck mixtape — evoking the beat-driven material on Odelay, the acoustic tracks of 1998's Mutations and even the bluesy junk-shop textures of 1994's Mellow Gold.

While a definite creative and spiritual link to his '90s records is apparent, the major distinction is in the relaxed manner and noticeable maturity. Guero is Odelay minus the over-caffeinated Moogs and ping-ponging video game bedlam of albums past.

The album kicks off with "E-Pro," the album's first single, which features a beat seemingly jacked from a classic Beastie Boys record with a simple, heavy rock riff and marks a return to the Dadaist rhyming absent on the somber Sea Change.

"Girls" also has radio-playability written all over it. A funky up-tempo jam, the sun-drenched track features "oohs" and "aahs," breezy acoustic guitars and Beck's lithe falsetto. "Hell Yes" features more rhyming and a minimal electro groove, robotic voices and females cooing, "Please enjoy," while Beck maintains, "My beat is correct."

"Que Onda Guero" ("What up, whitey?") is a dead-ringer for vintage Cypress Hill in an East-L.A. barrio with its requisite Spanglish and low-rider beats.

The latter half of the record becomes moodier and psychedelic with songs like the sad, celestial ballad "Broken Drum," the down-tempo "Earthquake Weather," the dusty "Farewell Ride" and the almost trip-hop vibe of "Emergency Exit." The White Stripes' Jack White plays bass on the shuffling and sparse "Go It Alone."

A concept video for "E-Pro" has been shot, and an experimental pixilated video for "Black Tambourine," featuring a connect-the-dots dancing Beck, has also been made, but it's undetermined what that video will be used for.

Tracks recorded that didn't make the final cut, possibly destined to be B-sides, include the distortion-heavy "Novacane"-esque "Chain Reaction," "Gospel" and an unnamed track that sports a riff reminiscent of "Devil's Haircut," only funkier.

Guero track list, according to Beck's publicist:

  • "E-Pro"

  • "Que Onda Guero"

  • "Girl"

  • "Missing"

  • "Black Tambourine"

  • "Earthquake Weather"

  • "Hell Yes"

  • "Broken Drum"

  • "Scarecrow"

  • "Go It Alone"

  • "Farewell Ride"

  • "Rental Car"

  • "Emergency Exit"