Since he invaded the mainstream consciousness with his folk-hop hit “Loser” more than a dozen years ago (!), Beck’s been keeping us guessing as to which side of his multifarious musical personality we’d get with each successive album. But last fall’s Nigel Godrich-produced The Information (Interscope), which came relatively quickly on the heels of 2005’s Guero (although work started on the former before the latter was recorded), found Beck synthesizing his varied influences: the sexy space-funk of Midnite Vultures rubs elbows with the white-boy hip-hop of Odelay on “Cellphone’s Dead”; “Dark Star” has all the string-heavy mournfulness of Sea Change songs like “Lonesome Tears,” but it also features a countrified harmonica break in the middle. That said, it’s never been the whole fun-with-genres thing that’s made Beck’s music so enjoyable; rather it’s his preternatural ability to craft a song, his deft way with such fundamental elements as melody and rhythm. And that’s why, even though he’s still not what you could call a great singer, you’ve picked him as Best Male Vocalist two years in a row.
— Will Spitz
by MATT ASHARE