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Beck Finds Clarity in 'Waking Light'

Hear the latest from the musician's new LP 'Morning Phase'

Beck performs in Newport, Rhode Island.
Douglas Mason/Getty Images
February 4, 2014 10:40 AM ET

Beck finds a fresh sense of clarity on "Waking Light," the latest track off his upcoming album Morning Phase, out February 25th. The cut finds Beck dabbling in a spacious atmosphere similar to the first song we heard off Morning Phase, "Blue Moon" (which also appears on the latest Girls soundtrack), though "Waking Light" veers more towards piano ballad territory, laced with chimes and string swells that build to cathartic closing guitar solo.

See Where Beck's Song Reader Ranked on Our List of 2013's Best Albums

"Waking Light" undoubteldy fits the conceptual throughline of Morning Phase, with Beck telling Rolling Stone last year that the album's 12 songs are set in the early hours of the morning: "It's not heavy-handed, but it's in there," he said. "There's this feeling of tumult and uncertainty, getting through that long, dark night of the soul – whatever you want to call it," he added, with a laugh. "These songs were about coming out of that – how things do get better."

Morning Phase also bares musical and thematic elements similar to Beck's 2002 album, Sea Change, and the musician even reunited the band that made that album to help him out on his latest effort. Beck's father, David Campbell, who did orchestration on Sea Change, also returned to help on brass and string arrangements.

Hear Beck's Charming Cover of John Lennon's "Love"

The new album marks Beck's first official studio release since 2008's Modern Guilt. In 2012, however, he released Song Reader, a collection of new material only available as individual pieces of sheet music, which he played live with star-studded ensembles in London and Los Angeles.

Explaining his infrequent activity over the past few years, Beck told an Argentine newspaper last November that he had suffered spinal damage and needed time to recover. Now back in action, Beck has teased Morning Phase with a cheeky video showing, quite literally, how the album was made.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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