17. Beck, 'Sea Change'
Sea Change was Beck's Blood on the Tracks: an acutely personal reflection on the end of an affair scored with desolate magnificence (lamenting strings, starbursts of guitar and miles of echo) and sung by the eternally boyish Beck in a manly, mortally wounded tenor. Producer Nigel Godrich, fresh from the harrowing modernism of Radiohead's Kid A, used pithy scarring electronics and desert-midnight suspense to heighten the pathos in songs like "The Golden Age" and "Guess I'm Doing Fine." In turn, Beck — stripped of hip-hop pastiche and sampled clutter — finally sang like the Bob Dylan of his generation, with vivid, lonesome honesty.
• Rolling Stone's Original 2002 Review