Beck – “Everlasting Nothing”

In a little more than a week, longtime traveler Beck will release his new album Hyperspace. The album works as a collaboration of sorts. Beck wrote and produced much of Hyperspace with Pharrell Williams. Beck’s been talking about the possibility of that team-up for years, but it’s still truly interesting to see it come to life.

Pharrell didn’t work on all the songs from Hyperspace, but he worked on all the tracks we’ve heard thus far: “Saw Lightning,” “Uneventful Days,” “Dark Places,” the intro track “Hyperlife.” This morning, Beck shared a new track called “Everlasting Nothing.” When I hit play, I thought sure, at least at first, that this would be one of the non-Pharrell tracks. It starts out rustic and ruminative, with bongos and new-age synths and delicately strummed acoustic guitars. But nope! It’s a Pharrell collab, too! Beck and Pharrell co-wrote and co-produced the song. The Beck/Pharrell combination contains multitudes.

“Everlasting Nothing” has been in the works for a long time. Beck performed the song twice in 2013, both at California shows. So maybe he and Pharrell have been tossing it back and forth, or maybe Pharrell reworked something that Beck had already written. In any case, as the song goes on, we can hear more sonic playfulness at work. Even though the song works as a slow, lovely countrified hymn, it’s also got fat 808 hits, echoed-out snares, and vocoderized backup vocals.

Beck has talked about how Pharrell pushed him to make singer-songwriter music, and “Everlasting Nothing” is one more sign that Pharrell was on the right track. “Everlasting Nothing” could’ve easily been a pretty good Morning Phase-type song, but it keeps twisting and adding on more interesting musical choices, and it’s all the better for it. Listen to the song below.

Hyperspace is out 11/22 on Capitol.