In 2012, Beck released an entirely new album in the form of sheet music, which he called Song Reader. Sure, it wasn’t the most satisfying way to receive a new Beck album, but it got people talking, if nothing else. Now, nearly two years later, the eccentric singer/songwriter is finally releasing it as an actual album, with each song recorded by a different artist. The album features recordings by Beck, Jeff Tweedy, Norah Jones, Jack White, Laura Marling, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, The New York Dolls’ David Johansen, Sparks, Drive By Truckers’ Jason Isbell, Loudon Wainwright III and more.
In a press release, Beck says, “It amazes me to hear how these musicians have made the songs their own and in the process revealed that the interpretation is the living breathing soul of the piece. These interpretations have made the book something new — something better.” Song Reader will be released July 29 via Capitol. Beck also recently released the solid new album Morning Phase.
Beck Song Reader:
1 Moses Sumney: “Title of this Song”
2 Fun.: “Please Leave A Light On When You Go”
3 Tweedy: “The Wolf is on the Hill”
4 Norah Jones: “Just Noise”
5 Lord Huron: “Last Night You Were A Dream”
6 Bob Forrest: “Saint Dude”
7 Jack White: “I’m Down”
8 Beck: “Heaven’s Ladder”
9 Juanes: “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard”
10 Laura Marling: “Sorry”
11 Jarvis Cocker: “Eyes That Say ‘I Love You'”
12 David Johansen: “Rough On Rats”
13 Jason Isbell: “Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings”
14 The Last Polka: “Marc Ribot”
15 Eleanor Friedberger: “Old Shanghai”
16 Sparks: “Why Did You Make Me Care?”
17 Swamp Dogg: “America, Here’s My Boy”
18 Jack Black: “We All Wear Cloaks”
19 Loudon Wainwright III: “Do We? We Do”
20 Gabriel Kahane with Ymusic: “Mutilation Rag”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.