Three years after he was ill-crowned King Slacker with “Loser,” Beck dropped tour-de-alternative-force Odelay on this day in 1996, chewing the comedic shit out of left-brain thought and hodgepodging rock better than De La Soul blew up hip-hop.
Artfully dicing up his sound with everything from horns to feedback, banjo, synth, and of course, two turntables and a microphone, ‘Odelay’, spanish phonetic slang for “what’s up,” tilted his slacker crown with the most perfect wink at the music world.
But back to the turntables. Because lead single “Where It’s At” was just that. Aside from its soon-to-be era-defining funky-ass organ fill, Beck exercised his poet muscle something strong, here, honing in on that magic moment when some dudes or dudettes wade their way through a crowd, man some tables and make their way to a mic. Cue the handclap chorus and an awkward dance:
Pick yourself up off the side of the road
With your elevator bones and your whipflash tones
Members only, hypnotizers
Move through the room like ambulance drivers
Shine your shoes with your microphone blues
Hirsutes with the parachute fruits
Passin’ the dutchie from coast to coast
Check the man Gary Wilson rocks the most
Where it’s at, I got two turntables and a microphone