Artist: Jeff Beck
Genre: Blues Rock / Hard Rock
“Soon I hope that I will find,
Thoughts deep within my mind.
That won’t displace my kind.”
What is Truth Jeff Beck? What is THE Truth? Does Truth even exist? I don’t know how it was in the late 60s but now in the good year of 2018, truth seems to be a non-existent thing. We live in a world where dishonesty, manipulation and keeping secrets seems to be what’s encouraged, tolerated and enabled. People are in a constant state of justifying their lies and dishonesty, coming up with non-stop excuses as to why they did that, why they were like that. No one takes responsibility for their actions any more and it’s baffling to see why people would go through the struggle of doing this when it’s so much easier to just tell the truth, mainly because then you don’t have to worry about what you’re saying any more, if your story is still working and if you tell the truth, you never have to worry about remembering things any more. But people don’t. It’s baffling how people say they want true honesty but turn around and act like completely dishonest people. “But I’m scared to hurt you, The truth might destroy you”. Continuous bullshit you hear from these people who find justified reasons as to why they lied to you because they can’t admit to themselves that it was shitty to be dishonest. Honesty is honestly the lost virtue, and the handful of people who still practice it are for some reason called the assholes. But they only are because the bullshitters don’t like when they get called on their bullshit so they find it easy to just call the honest person an asshole, which is irony at it’s best because in reality, they’re the actual asshole. But as we all know society is ass-backwards on a lot of things, and honesty is one of them.
I digress, why did I go on a tangent about this? This literally has nothing to do with Jeff Beck’s first debut solo album that is considered a seminal piece of hard rock and heavy metal. Can you believe he infused blues rock with Hard Rock sounds?? Un – Be – Lie – Va – Ble. Jeff Beck shows off his guitar skills on this 40 minute cover album, where he cranks out solo after solo, riff after riff on a plethora of songs that he apparently has zero writing credits on (Not even the one with his name on it “Beck’s Bolero”, which has the writing credit going to Jimmy Page). Heck, we’re even introduced to the vocal stylings of none other than Rod Stewart himself, the man who asked the world that if you think he’s sexy and you like his body then come on sugar tell him so. TELL HIM! What an album this is, truly remarkable. The one sentiment I get from it is:
An album that’s considered such a seminal piece of work just didn’t really do it for me (which I guess isn’t that surprising based on my history with these types of albums). I just didn’t feel engaged with the music, it didn’t resonate in anyway with me and didn’t leave a lasting effect or mark. Jeff Beck’s guitar work, as usual, is really good and I will say I loved it, but not enough to walk away from it all going “Damn what fine piece of album”. For a debut solo I was expecting more than just a bunch of covers. It would have been nice to see Jeff Beck shine as a songwriter than just a guitar player, we know he can play guitar and play it well, but can he write? That’s the real question I want answered and I’m sure he can, he is considered one of the guitar gods, so why waste his time doing covers? This is the late 60s, not the 50s where everyone was essentially covering each other. Even Elvis took the time to write new material and his own stuff, so Jeff Beck could have done that too.
I have nothing against covers, especially when done well. A good cover is when an artist or group adds their own flavour to it, repurposes it their own way and creates something new from it. I hate covers that essentially sound exactly like the original, like the band didn’t even try to do something new with it, what’s the point at that point? If you want to play song you love live, then by all means do it but don’t record it and package it as something on your album when you don’t even take the time to add anything to it. (Hot damn, hot take). Thankfully Jeff Beck is original enough to add his own flair to the music he’s creating so it doesn’t fall flat or boring, I just wish he took the time to write original material… that’s all.
I mean, that’s not too much to ask from one of the greats right? He can do it, I believe in him. I really hope he has another album on this list that can show that off and maybe I won’t be as disappointed second time around. I like Jeff Beck and just want what’s best for him.
Song of Choice: Beck’s Bolero