Beck

Golden Feelings

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Before Mellow Gold and even before A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight, there was Golden Feelings, an extremely limited-edition, cassette-only collection of songs. Re-released in 1999 by Sonic Enemy, this 17-track collection documents Beck's first officially released, self-recorded, full-length album of four-track noodlings and documents his genius in embryo. Like Stereopathetic Soul Manure, Golden Feelings features muddy production values, an array of taped TV and music blurbs, and entertaining between-track dialogues and noises. The opening cut "The Fucked Up Blues" is a fine early example of Beck's surrealist blues; some songs, such as "Magic Station Wagon," which sounds like two broken guitars being plucked violently over and over for some sort of percussive effect, are more interesting than listenable. The folkish "No Money No Honey" -- which also appeared on Stereopathetic Soul Manure, sung by a homeless man Beck recruited -- appears here in a more developed version and features what must be one of the loudest, most distorted acoustic guitar tracks ever recorded. The primitive Velvet Underground-meets-Jon Spencer Blues Explosion garage rock of "Schmoozer," as well as the humorous folk narrative of "Heartland Feeling," are some of his strongest songs to date. Dark, haunting ballads like "Super Golden Black Sunchild," the country-blues of "Gettin' Home," and an early attempt at funk on "People Gettin' Busy" round out a very eclectic set. An early, even more distorted version of Mellow Gold's "Mutherfukka" is also included. Overall, Golden Feelings is an extremely interesting, entertaining, and humorous document that proves that from the start Beck had his heart set on making experimentation his only gimmick.