Apple Music has a show called 5 Best Songs where the DJ Matt Wilkinson asks guests about their favorite music. Tomorrow, Beck will release his new album Hyperspace, largely co-written and co-produced with Pharrell Williams. So by way of promoting the album, Beck is on the most recent 5 Best Songs, discussing music from the Velvet Underground, Prince, Aphex Twin, the Beach Boys, and Tame Impala. And along the way, he tells some fascinating stories.
One thing I’d never heard before: In the late ’90s, Beck wanted very badly to get Aphex Twin to produce an album. It didn’t happen, though Aphex Twin did remix “Devil’s Haircut” at one point. Sadly, though, the Aphex Twin version of Midnite Vultures is something that will have to exist only in our imaginations. Here’s what Beck says about it:
I asked Aphex Twin to produce an album for me in ’98. He was busy. He was moving into a bank or something. But he said to come by and have a cup of tea. I never met him, but I was definitely dead-set for two years: “He’s going to produce the next record.” I sort of think of “Windowlicker” as maybe some sort of version of what it would’ve sounded like.
Beck also talks about the moment when he first got famous on the back of his single “Loser.” The track went out into the world in ways that he couldn’t have predicted, and it led to some strange opportunities. Like this one:
I remember getting a phone call one day. My manager said, “There’s a film. They want to use ‘Loser’ as the theme song.” There was a long pause, and he said, “The name of the film is Dumb And Dumber.” And I just remember: That sums up what the world thinks of me at this point. I tried to have fun with it, tried to not take it too serious. But at the same time, it was a little disheartening sometimes.
(Dumb And Dumber is a good movie.)
By way of talking about Tame Impala, Beck also tells a story about listening to the band with Thom Yorke:
I was playing [the first Tame Impala album] at my house one afternoon, and Thom Yorke walks in and immediately goes and crouches over, his ear to the speaker: “What the hell is this?”… He just dropped by. He was in the neighborhood… The song [“Solitude Is Bliss”] had just come out, and I was just playing it on repeat.
Hyperspace is out 11/22 on Capitol.