As an image for these days of uncertainty, a time bomb might be at least as relevant as, say, an umbrella. With today's release of Beck's new single, both devices are now part of the summer pop vocabulary, and he has as much fun with his toy as Rihanna does, in a different way, with hers. She goes, "ella, ella, ella," he says, "tick tick tick tick."
The latter is inherently more ominous, but the recording's apocalyptic undercurrent is balanced by a mighty urge to rock, a duality embodied in lines such as:
We got a red alert
We cut the power and we
Na na na na
It's a ridiculously dynamic single, Devo-like in its embrace of dumb fundamentals and the mocking tone of Beck's voice. There's also a Prince-ly swagger in its synth-rock propulsion, but the parade of surprises in the shifting textures and colors is pure, prime Beck.