The release of Beck’s upcoming album – years in the making – has already had more than it’s fair share of “boy cried wolf” moment. This time it appears it really is on the horizon though.
Various tweets have claimed “new Beck music is coming next week,” referring to a new song called “Wow” that was first described publicly in an Alt AZ 93.3 blog post that detailed a March 18, 2016 SXSW meeting of radio programmers to discuss their role in bringing Beck’s new music into the world. The post, written by Alt AZ’s program director Christy Taylor, also confirmed the wheels are already in motion for Beck’s new album to drop this year, suggesting a formal public announcement is near. “The day kicked off with a quick breakfast meet up with a bunch of other radio people,” Taylor writes. “From there we went to hear some new songs off of Beck’s new album!!! Yes! Beck’s new album that is coming out in 2016… they hinted a single might even drop by May/June. One of the songs we heard was called “wow”, and it is what I was like to call a visual song. The reason I say this is because it literally gave me strong visuals. Just do a google image search on burning man. When you look through the images you will see larger than life words sitting in the middle of the playa, art cars, fire, people in vibrant outfits, and so much more. Burning man can bring together a series of images that don’t feel like they shouldn’t belong together but somehow out on the playa they all make sense. The point is “wow,” made me visualize that. The lyrics, the slide whistle…. oh you are going to love that slide whistle, the peaks and valleys in the song, it is a musical adventure. We did get to listen to another Beck song which was a bit more of the traditional “Beck sound” but “wow” was the track that really left an impression. I did try to explain my visual experience to some of his management but they might have thought I was nuts. Burning Man is very hard to explain to people that haven’t been…. anyway, I digress.”
The same weekend that radio insiders met at SXSW to preview and discuss Beck’s new music, OG Maco – aka Maco Mattox, a rapper best known for his 2014 hit “U Guessed It” – tweeted that he worked on an “amazing record” for Beck. Maco followed that tweet with another on April 16th that included a screen shot of a message from Beck, implying that his involvement was along the lines of mixing or production of some sort. It’s unclear what OG contributed or if Beck ended up using OG’s efforts, but the message from Beck linked in OG’s second tweet – deleted hours after it was shared but captured below – clearly revealed the track in question OG worked on: “Wow.”
In the past few days various radio and record biz insiders have tweeted a new song from Beck is due out next week, one of which hinted the new music is the same song OG and Christy had mentioned, “Wow.”
Beck’s forthcoming album is rumored to be finished. If true, next week would be a prime time to announce its title and release details both because the summer is upon us, and because Beck is returning to the global media capital that is New York to headline – not just one – two major music festival next weekend, Governors Ball and Mountain Jam. Coincidence? It also may be worth noting that Beck visited Zane Low on May 25th to help promote the new Flume album he guests on. But would Beck take such strides just to promote somebody else’s record? Could it be he also met with Zane to can an interview for a soon-to-come announcement?
Either way, looks like “Wow” will wow. Billboard senior editor Alex Gale revealed it “sounds like an updated “Old Beck” — and it is seriously fucking fire” and that – befitting OG’s involvement – “there’s trap drums.”
UPDATE – June 1st
Numerous Instagram accounts have collectively leaked 3 minutes and 33 seconds of “Wow” in small segments – 20 in all, just a few seconds each – and confirmed the full song will be released June 2nd at 9 am PST/ noon EST, at which time Beck is scheduled to appear on KROQ’s Kevin and Bean Show. All links to stream or download “Wow” at that time from the site of your choosing (iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc) are here. Watch all the teases from Instagram below, in interactive mode on beck.com or edited together as one video here:
So there we have it: “banging like an 808” (to borrow a phrase from ‘Old Beck’), Mr Hansen’s slide-whistle-trap-happy new single “Wow” is the musical equivalent of doing a Google image search for “burning man” and it’s out June 2nd.