Beck's ridden his muse like a teeter-totter for the last decade' raunchy and raw, introspective and subdued' yet the slacker musical fusionary rarely has allowed the two distinct sides of his outsized musical personality to meet until now. "The Information," assembled piecemeal over the last three years with help from Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, might be Beck's most emotionally cohesive effort since the devastating melancholy of "Sea Change."
Forlorn and slightly paranoid, "The Information" welds poignant depth to loose, edgy, futuristic-sex-freak, lending tracks like "Cellphone's Dead" and "Soldier Jane" a febrile, funky vitality; the Dylan-esque word collages have, at last, been brought into the bedroom. These 15 tracks dazzle with their range of textures, but the homemade videos on a separate DVD are an exercise in diminishing returns; deliberately low-budget, it conveys a sense of discomfiting overachievement, a great idea stretched way too thin.
- Preston Jones