I met Michael at Nobody Beats the Wiz, a CD/Electronics store in Union Square in Manhattan, in 1996. We bonded immediately over a love of music. A lot of people love music, but Michael was the only other person I’d met who, like me, maintained a weekly listing of his favorite current songs. Like me, Michael had an imaginary radio station. (Now is a good time to mention that neither of us were children when we met – Michael was 23 and I was 33.) Though both of us shared the same intense passion for music, the music for which we shared a passion differed.
I listened to a lot of what Michael dismissed as “college rock,” while Michael enjoyed much of what I called “cheesy dance pop.” There were a few acts we both liked – Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Beck.
Beck’s Odelay album was only a couple of months old when we met. Its intelligence, originality, sense of melody, adventure and fun appealed the both of us.
Much like Madonna, Beck has worn many personas within pop music – the funky white guy, the folkie, the faux-folkie, the somber singer-songwriter and the comic songster among them. Impressively, he has succeeded at each, with albums ranging from good to great.
Today, Tunes du Jour pays homage to the man born Bek Campbell on his 44th birthday. I’m severely limited by Spotify’s spotty Beck selections, so I’m going to focus on Odelay, because it’s great and it’s there.