Last Thursday, Beck tweeted out a GIF artwork in which his face was mildly obscured by animation. “Dreams” it read across the bottom in fanciful bubbles. There was no caption, and no other details, which left followers and fans wondering: Was the rocker announcing a new album? (It would be a fairly swift follow-up to Morning Phase, his Grammy-Album-of-the-Year-winning ninth studio album that dropped in February of 2014 but certainly not out of the question) or was he announcing a new single? (And if so, did the lush title imply that country-drifter Beck, whom we met on 2002’s Sea Change and reunited with last year, was here to stay?)
Turns out it was partly the latter. “Dreams,” his newest track, dropped early Monday morning. But any possibility that we could conceivably anticipate the musician’s next stylistic move was disbanded within the first few bars.
Sonically, “Dreams,” which Beck wrote with Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt, is a total role-reversal from anything off Morning Phase. Still deeply layered (Hello, the man plays 14 instruments!), all recent hints of psychedelia or synthy-dreamscapes have been stripped away, replaced with a jangling, loose-limbed rock tune.
If there is a thread tying the two it’s that like Morning Phase, Beck is still preaching about what to do when you finally realize the world surrounding you is, well, screwed. His answer today? “When nothing’s right / Just close your eyes / Close your eyes / And you’re gone.”
“Dreams” is streaming below.