Beck‘s last album, Guero (not counting the album of remixes that came after it), was a smorgasboard of so-so songs with a few flashes of genius.

According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine (in what must be the longest unbroken paragraph published this week), Beck’s new album The Information is significantly better than that.

There’s a greater sense of craft here and while craft isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Beck, it’s what happens when an eccentric sticks around for over a decade: they turn pro. They’ve done their exploring and now they’re learning how to apply what they’ve discovered. … Like a picture where you have to stare intently to find the hidden item buried in a seas of colored dots, it can be far too easy on The Information to look at the individual dots and not see the big picture – but at least here the dots are interesting in and of themselves. And if you give it time, The Information eventually reveals itself as Beck’s tightest, most purposeful album yet.

A shout-out to Josh Hurst for the alert.

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