Modern Guilt

Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Here, they [Beck and Danger Mouse] deliver enough substance and style to make Modern Guilt an effective dosage of 21st century paranoia.
  2. Though Modern Guilt is more direct and consistent than his last two scattershot LPs, it also finds the disillusioned L.A. hippie struggling to balance his deathly outlook with his more crowd-pleasing inclinations.
  3. 80
    So Beck is finally fun again, and you suspect the person most surprised by how well Modern Guilt turned out is the guy who made it.
  4. Q Magazine
    80
    The slacker boy wonder has grown up to be a man on a new mission. [Aug 2008, p.134]
  5. Mojo
    80
    So does the pairing work? The answer, from the first, strutting beats of Modern Guilt's opener, 'Orphans,' is a gleaming Yes. [Aug 2008, p.104]
  6. Taken as a whole, the album's first five songs stand among Beck's strongest work.
  7. Under The Radar
    80
    Modern Guilt adds Danger Mouse and Cat Power to Beck's roster of collaborators, with spectacular results. [Fall 2008, p.79]
  8. It sits alone in his cannon as being slightly uncomfortable but in turn is a brilliantly concise work (it runs to a little over 30 minutes).
  9. "Odelay" this surely isn't, but Beck it surely is--a chameleon who changes colors just enough to keep himself interested.
  10. 70
    In a scant 30-plus minutes, Modern Guilt modestly proves that it's still restlessness, both artistic and personal, that drives the only living boy in Los Angeles.
  11. Burton makes the ultimate endgame sound like a party you'd still want to be invited to--one that even Beck might enjoy, despite himself.
  12. Paste Magazine
    80
    All this adds up to Beck’s darkest record to date, one that captures the uncertainty of 2008 as well as "Mellow Gold" distilled apathy in 1994.
  13. 2008 requires more focus and more grace. Modern Guilt delivers both.
  14. Recently, Beck too often sounds like he's playing with his toys and not intent on making actual music, but the new album's brief 10 tracks prove that he's almost always more interesting when he's not having fun.
  15. Modern Guilt doesn’t quite make it to that flashpoint, but it certainly points the way to a musical future brighter than the endless, mirrored hall of 'Devils Haircut' rewrites that songs like 'E-Pro' suggested was coming. And that is a sea change worth waiting for.
  16. With 10 songs clocking in at just 33 minutes, Modern Guilt feels fleeting, even temporal, and that seems to be the point. It's destined to be an artifact of an age that's rocketing, Beck suspects, toward oblivion.
  17. While not the most creative thing he’s produced, it feels naturally cohesive and stands as an interesting piece on its own.
  18. 70
    Produced by hip-hop head case Danger Mouse, who is half of Gnarls Barkley, Modern Guilt mixes ancient rock--mainly the incense-and-peppermints-flavored ’60s psychedelia of Revolver-era Beatles, the Zombies and Pink Floyd--with the woozy, abstract beats Danger Mouse manages to turn into freaked-out fun.
  19. Filter
    91
    Though he has never had just one sonic home, and Modern Guilt is no exception to this rule, Beck is somehow more aware while puffing out his waves of broken poetry as opposed to the casual seed-spitting he has been known to turn to. [Summer 2008, p.91]
  20. The concept of a modern type of guilt is probably supposed to imply the effortlessly achievable comfort and depressed humility with which much of the album is sung. Perhaps ironically, the best way to enjoy Modern Guilt is with blinders on to this sort of temporal perspective.
  21. At just more than 33 minutes, Modern Guilt is compacted for impact and delivers.
  22. Nothing makes as quick of an impact as 'Crazy,' but give the tunes time and you'll find they stick around.
  23. Modern Guilt takes that album's insecurity in the face of technology running away with us, to a tightly-written 10 songs that in part seem to focus on what, precisely, we have done to the world; and how on earth are we meant to get back in touch with it?
  24. Modern Guilt is “Wall-E” for anyone who prefers rock 'n' roll to kids' movies.
  25. There isn’t anything outlandishly overdone on this album as Beck offers a more stripped down approach. These are obvious efforts to return to a more cohesive, solid form and with a steady dose of subtle harmonies, crafty melodies and hooks, interesting instrumentation and oh yeah, two songs that feature Cat Power, Beck doesn’t disappoint.
  26. Modern Guilt is a hot thing of indefinite course.
  27. Beck has shown an affinity for retro-leaning styles on his previous records, too, but he's never found a sound quite as consistent or compelling as the one Danger Mouse dials in here.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 46
  2. Negative: 1 out of 46
  1. Nov 1, 2011
    7
    This is an ambitious record, not what I'd call easy listening but always interesting listening. The thing about Beck for me is - he's a greatThis is an ambitious record, not what I'd call easy listening but always interesting listening. The thing about Beck for me is - he's a great artist but quality control is often a problem on his records and they can be very self indulgent. For the most part here though he keeps that in checks Full Review »
  2. thehamster
    Jan 18, 2009
    5
    This album was for sure a letdown after The Information....Modern Guilt has a couple of good moments but it suffers from being WAY This album was for sure a letdown after The Information....Modern Guilt has a couple of good moments but it suffers from being WAY overproduced. I sorely missed his band on these songs and would think a little more life could have went into this if they were present. Danger Mouse for sure brought some ideas, but 10 songs of them in a row sounded a lot alike. Not horrible, but not up to normal Beck standards. What made the Information so good is what is missing here.....variety. Back to the drawing board Beck.....remember to bring the band next time. Full Review »
  3. Tab
    Sep 28, 2008
    10
    The trick is to let this work of brilliance stand on its own. When album this genuine and passionate happens, recognize what went into it. The trick is to let this work of brilliance stand on its own. When album this genuine and passionate happens, recognize what went into it. That's where you'll find what to get out. Full Review »