Beck‘s new album Morning Phase is now streaming on iTunes a week ahead of its February 25th release. The record is Beck’s 12th studio effort and first proper LP since 2008’s Modern Guilt, though it does follow up 2012’s Song Reader, a collection of new material released as sheet music.
For Morning Phase, Beck reunited with the team of musicians that helped him craft his 2002 LP, Sea Change (including his father David Campbell, who helped out on brass and string arrangements). In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, the musician described the new record as “California music… I’m hearing the Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Gram Parsons, Neil Young – the bigger idea of what that sound is to me.”
Beck began working on the record in 2005 on a trip to Nashville, picking it up again in 2011 when he returned to the city to cut a one-off single for Jack White’s Third Man Records. While the results weren’t exactly what he’d hoped for, Beck ended up keeping a few songs, like “Waking Light” and “Country Down,” which now appear on Morning Phase.
An underlying concept runs through the record as well, with each track taking place at the start of a new day: “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. These songs were about coming out of that – how things do get better.”
Morning Phase may not be the only Beck release we see this year either: In a recent interview with Billboard, the musician teased another project with Pharrell Williams and other high-profile collaborators that could see release later this year, “time willing.”