- Beck's sixth major-label album is a stunning return to the anything-goes format of 1996's ODELAY. Standing in sharp contrast to its predecessor--the quiet, somber SEA CHANGE--2005's GUERO is the sound of the Los Angeles singer/songwriter cutting loose and getting back to the slacker funk that won him legions of fans in the 1990s.
- "E-Pro" kicks off the festivities with a heavy guitar riff and a Beastie Boys-sampled beat, while "Que Onda Guero" revels in a sunny Latin vibe, with Beck rapping (surprisingly well) in Spanish. However, this outing also offers up MUTATIONS-worthy melodic pop, particularly on "Girl," a brilliantly catchy tune carried along by acoustic guitar, handclaps, and lush vocal harmonies. Beck's reunion with sound sculptors Mike Simpson and John King (the Dust Brothers) breathes plenty of life into these tracks, including the heavily percussive "Black Tambourine" and the '70s-inspired "Earthquake Weather." Jack White (of the famously bass-less White Stripes) lends a bluesy bass line to "Go It Alone," while many of Beck's longtime musicians (guitarist Smokey Hormel, bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen) turn up throughout the record. An album that features Beck energetically jumping back into his renowned cut-and-paste aesthetic, GUERO is sure to please longtime fans, and may win over young listeners who thought that he was primarily a sad-sack folkie.
Rolling Stone (pp.67-68) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The rhythmic jolt makes the malaise more compelling and complex, with enough playful musical wit to hint at a next step....On GUERO, he finds a way to revitalize his musical imagination..."
Spin (p.64) - Ranked #11 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Los Angeles plays itself: the noise of traffic, boom boxes, curbside Spanglish, mariachi music -- the sound of what it's like to be an outcast even in an outsider's hood."
Spin (pp.97-98) - "[A] return to his most popular trick: digging up cool grooves and noises from far-flung neighborhoods and throwing a party where the whole city can get down and make out." - Grade:B
Entertainment Weekly (p.140) - Ranked #2 in Entertainment Weekly's 'Top Ten Records of the Year' -- "[H]e's learned that kaleidoscopic music that digs deep into blues, bossa nova, and electro keeps everything marvelously grounded too."
Entertainment Weekly (No. 813, p.66) - "[GUERO] is the first record on which the many moods and sides of Beck co-exist, and it's about time." - Grade: A-
Uncut (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Here, again, is where fat dusty beats meet keening bottleneck scrapes....As another installment in the guy's ongoing dialectics, it's as welcome as anything he's done."
Alternative Press (p.132) - 5 out of 5 - "'Rental Car' has a dilapidated bass line that's White Stripes-worthy....And let's not overlook 'Hell Yes,' which brings Beck together with Neptunes-ish beats for a broken hip-hop revival. Long live the king of hip."
Magnet (p.85) - "Remarkably, the shifts in tone and mood only serve GUERO in the end, proof that stepping back to enjoy the broad picture can be just as rewarding as focusing on one detail at a time."
Vibe (p.142) - "[E]ssentially a sequel to his '96 sample-heavy opus."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 - "'Missing' with wistful melody, swooping Melody Nelson strings, beautifully minimal bass and bossa nova guitar, is a jewel that takes Beck's sonic kleptomania to a new realm."