A party-starter from Beck’s strangest album

A party-starter from Beck’s strangest album

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week: What’s one of your favorite songs to dance to?

Midnite Vultures is Beck’s strangest album, a hedonistic bouillabaisse that’s scattered and head-scratching even by the crate-digging standards of the guy who got “Get crazy with the Cheez Whiz” stuck in your head for all of 1994. It’s also Beck’s most enjoyable album, at turns psychedelic, Funkadelic, and filthy in ways that would make Dr. Fink file for malpractice. Released between the more sober affairs of 1998’s Mutations and 2002’s Sea Change, Midnite Vultures is the one surefire party-starter in Beck’s catalogue, boasting a first side that peaks with the single “Mixed Bizness.” A wah-wah- and horn-flecked number with a killer call-and-response hook, the song’s lyrics could enforce the notion that pop’s funkiest Scientologist was taking the piss with Midnite Vultures: Sashaying from falsetto to deadpan drawl, Beck doles out word salad about cold lamping and a meeting (wink wink) “in the ladies’ room.” The track is unrepentantly goofy, but it’s more than a few good jokes and a beat you can dance to—at least someone in the recording process had to take their job seriously in order to produce a song that’s this fun. It’s a dance track transmitted directly from Beck’s id, and I for one will always make a beeline to the floor the second he starts mixing business with leather.

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