To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure what to make of Beck or his music. Beck is one of those ‘interesting’ artists who manages to be popular and obscure; accessible but alienating; lauded yet derided. Latest single, Wow, is hardly likely to change any of that, with it being difficult to think that this three-and-a-half minute alternative hip-hop offering won’t elicit a love it or hate it response from the listening public.
Getting ahold of a demo-track Beck had been working on at home, his children introduced their friends to its sounds, and soon the song had “gone viral” amongst the kids. Or so goes the twee story that accompanies Wow’s release. That Beck’s children are preteens – a group, on the whole, not renowned for their sophisticated or steadfast musical tastes – is neglected to be mentioned, and whether the demo-track which so excited the young’uns was a version of Wow is left deliciously ambiguous.
There is no denying that Wow is a catchy pop tune. The pipe-melody that opens the song also binds the track together, working well with a steady, laid back, hip-hop beat to create a relaxed, head-nodding atmosphere. Ridiculousness abounds, starting with the opening – and later repeated – exhortation to “giddy up” and surely reaching its epitome with reference to a “girl in a bikini with the Lamborghini shih tzu” – or you know, the usual Beck absurdity.
So, we’ve established that Wow is a catchy absurd-alternative-hip-hop-pop-song, but is it any good? Yes. No. Maybe. Any one of the parts that makes up the song is well done, and the mixture is infectiously fun, but this strength is also the songs weakness; the enjoyable quirks will quickly turn into irritations meaning that Wow will have a short shelf life with little re-listen value. At least until people forget about it and rediscover it years down the track.