Gateway Acts: How Beck opened up a whole new world to an evangelical boy from the Midwest

That exposure, mixed with a local exposure to the blossoming hip-hop and punk scenes, and eventually the Gen X anti-folk movement, gave Beck an eclectic musical vocabulary that he democratically injected into his own work with a playfulness that infected his audience with all genres simultaneously. In addition to discovering a wealth of great artists through Beck's music, his choice in producers like the Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique) on Odelay and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead's OK Computer) on Mutations and Sea Change added further entries to my musical check-list.

While Guero exposed us to a bit of unprecedented Latin flavor, by this album, Beck had seemingly exhausted his bag of retro tricks and began repeating himself. Other than a few one-off French-pop collaborations and last year's brilliant sheet-music-only album release (harkening back to an era that predates recorded sound, when the only way to hear music was to make it yourself), in the last decade, Beck has rarely been a gateway source to new bands or genres. But as long as I live, I will always owe an incalculable debt to the boundary-crossing eclecticism of that slim-hipped dancing boy from L.A.

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