Who will take home Grammy's biggest prize?
One thing Beck rarely does is repeat himself, and yet that's what he did, sort of, with Morning Phase. Billed as a "companion piece" to his much-loved 2002 album Sea Change, the 12th studio LP from this West Cost chameleon is all slow tempos, gentle strumming, soothing synths and strings and gorgeous melodies. It's a meditative record perfect for Sunday mornings, and that makes it stand out from the other four competing for Album of the Year honors at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
The reason Beck hasn't exactly made Sea Change II is that the original is a dark, somber record inspired by the singer's then-recent breakup with fiancée Leigh Limon. Morning Phase is a much more hopeful and optimistic set of songs, and even if Beck isn't doing folk-inflected hip-hop or psychedelic funk -- two of the many sounds he's dabbled in over the years -- songs like "Blue Moon" and "Waking Light" sound like the work of levelheaded dude sitting down and sorting things out. The music is lush and inviting -- the opposite of stark.