The New Beck “Album”

Once the grandson of a Fluxus artist, always the grandson of a Fluxus artist. Beck‘s grandfather, Al Hansen, was a modern artist known for being part of the “anti-art” movement called Fluxus. Beck has always had the genre-blurring arty side to his music too. His next music project isn’t even about recorded music. It’s an “album” of sheet music that the public can create their own music with. It’s probably no coincidence that Beck is using his surname Beck Hansen on this release, which is called Song Reader. The book is scheduled to be released in December by the hip folks at McSweeney’s.

Here’s more information found on

BECK HANSEN’S SONG READER features original art from Marcel Dzama (who created the imagery for Beck’s acclaimed Guero), Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, and many more, as well as an introduction by Jody Rosen (Slate, The New York Times) and a foreword by Beck. The package measures 9.5” x 12.5” with 108 pages comprising 20 individual full-color song booklets—18 featuring original lyrics, and 2 instrumentals—with covers from more than a dozen different artists.

Readers’ (and select musicians’) renditions of the songs will be featured on the McSweeney’s website. Check back at and BECK.COM for further information and updates as they are available.

About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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3 Responses to The New Beck “Album”

  1. Beck is either brilliant or a mixture between arrogant and ignorant. On the one hand I’m intrigued. It can turn into an exciting exchange between musicians interpreting his songs, probably on youtube. Anyone can try to create their own version instead of just covering what you hear from the CD. On the other hand I don’t like that Beck’s release will create exclusion. Many musicians don’t read sheet music (I only started learning it end of last year). I wonder if someone will go ahead and translate it into tabs? Depending on the price of this “lavishly” produced reader I’d be up for joining the project and trying to play some of the songs. I wonder if other enthusiasts will follow, or if only lovers of art (visual) will buy the reader to put it on the coffee table?

    • Hi Nicole, thanks for the comment. It does seems like something that could be a genius concept or just self-indulgence. I’m not a mega Beck fan so else I would be one of those non-music readers on the outside looking it. I hope it is not a trend but hopefully just a goofy one-off. I could create the interesting situation of surrogate (for lack of brainpower to think of another word at this hour) Beck albums.

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