Beck to Release New Album as Book of Sheet Music

'Beck Hansen's Song Reader' to be released by McSweeney's

'Beck Hansen's Song Reader'
Courtesy of McSweeney's Publishing
August 8, 2012 1:31 PM ET

Beck will release a new album in December, but it won't come in the form of MP3s, CD or vinyl – instead, Beck Hansen's Song Reader will be released by the publishing house McSweeney's as individual pieces of sheet music.

"The Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012," reads the post on Beck's website announcing the project. "An alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that's as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together."

At 108 pages comprising 20 individual song booklets, the Song Reader will feature 20 new tunes by Beck, 18 of them featuring lyrics and two instrumentals. The release will also include a hardcover carrying case, a foreword by Beck himself, and "full-color, heyday-of-home-play-inspired" original art from Marcel Dzama (who designed Beck's album Guero), Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, and others.

And what of hearing the album cuts like "Do We? We Do" or "Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard"? Well, "bringing them to life depends on you," according to the announcement. McSweeney's plans to feature renditions of the tracks on Song Reader performed by both readers and musicians, but there's no word on whether Beck himself will be among the performers.

In other not-quite-a-new-Beck-album news, Rework, his remix album collaboration with composer Philip Glass, will see its own release on October 23rd.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »