Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. If Beck gets better as he gets madder, this is definitely his best since 'Midnite Vultures' - maybe even since 'Odelay'.
  2. He's turned his gaze back on himself and created a record that brilliantly summarises and even critiques his own past.
  3. Despite the album’s plethora of stylistic shifts and breakdowns, there’s a solid coherency to The Information that allows it to flow from beginning to end without the listener losing interest.
  4. I’m convinced that Beck Hansen has a few more good albums in him. One thing’s for sure, though: The Information isn’t one of them.
  5. Although The Information contains some of his most aware, intriguing lyrical head-scratchers yet, the familiar musical settings are something of a letdown from an artist famous for complete reinvention.
  6. If you give it time, The Information eventually reveals itself as Beck's tightest, most purposeful album yet.
  7. One of the best albums Beck has ever made.
  8. Fun, fresh and (mainly) utterly listenable, The Information is the most diverse and, at times, thrilling album you'll hear all year.
  9. His latest album plays like a subdued collection of greatest hits, dropping in on the sounds and themes of each preceding album with graceful brevity.
  10. However annoying it sounds, give The Information a chance. By the time Horrible Fanfare rolls around, 15 numbers in, you'll be too dazed to resist.
  11. What sounded fresh and spontaneous a decade back now seems labored and wearying.
  12. What The Information lacks in Sea Changemanship it makes up for in Midnight Vultures, hats be damned.
  13. It's a sonic tour de force, and Beck seems comfortable in the info-storm.
  14. Along the way, it scores a lot of points, thanks to Nigel Godrich's earthy but twisted production.
  15. Unlike "Guero" this one really has some war in it.
  16. More than with either Mutations or Sea Change, you can hear Godrich’s rich instrumental layering beneath the rhythms.... Still, at fifteen tracks and over an hour, perhaps Beck needed a stiff editor more than the comfort of a familiar producer.
  17. Information ultimately suffers from the same hollowness that weakened Guero, but it's bolder at its best and less derivative of previous victories.
  18. Impeccably sequenced and incessantly engaging.
  19. There's nothing here that Beck hasn't done before, but it sounds unexpected once again.
  20. Even though The Information is neither a leap forward or nearly as exceptional as his previous collaborations with Godrich, it does serve as hope that Beck still has some great work ahead of him. [#15]
  21. Overall, this collision of dirty loops and polished pop is Information you need. [Dec 2006, p.198]
  22. 70
    It's about three songs too long and a little all over the place. [Nov 2006, p.99]
  23. The Information is as creative, tuneful and interesting as you could wish from an established artist.
  24. 60
    The latter tracks sink into Beck-by-numbers fare. [Nov 2006, p.100]
  25. 60
    The Information often feels hygienised and missing some grit. [Nov 2006, p.100]
  26. 60
    [Contains] scattered but affecting shots of brilliance. [Oct 2006, p.117]
  27. The Information... is hamstrung by the sensation that, though Beck likes rapping, he has little to say beyond smart-alec one-liners. [Nov 2006, p.138]
  28. The bubbly cartoon funk of single Cell Phone's Dead is a winner, but tracks like 1000 BPM and We Dance Alone are mid-paced, cautiously funky numbers with neither the bare sentiment of Sea Change nor the ribald lunacy of Hansen’s late-90s bombs.
  29. Without the bizarre lyrical invention and fuck-shit-up whimsy of his earlier work, Beck's attempts at party jams come off woefully overwrought and flat, making the darker bits interspersed throughout seem intriguing by default.
  30. 50
    Assured but tame. [Nov 2006, p.139]
  31. [The songs] demand reconstruction that can only come from multiple listens. Unfortunately, the initial impact of the record is so muted that only an artist as challenging and road-tested as Beck warrants such effort.
  32. 88
    The Information is a truer return to the Odelay mentality--and surprisingly, the sound as well. [#22, p.92]
  33. Despite his penchant for experimentation, much of his material remains accessible to casual listeners, even when he turns toward the self-indulgent.
  34. Yet for all the headphone-worthy sounds, the pace seldom rises above a back-porch feel and, at times, the stickers meant for customizing the cover seem like more fun than the music.
  35. This is their third collaboration, but neither the casual, light-bodied "Mutations" nor the intimate "Sea Change" anticipated this kind of flowering. [24 Sep 2006]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 61
  2. Negative: 2 out of 61
  1. mikes.
    Oct 5, 2006
    Beck has gotten into a comfortable groove as of late and I believe AMG overrated this album. Yes Nigel Godrich is a great producer and does a good job in giving Beck focus. In theory, this album should be good enough to be considered one of his best. It will satisfy hardcore Beck fans. But Beck's original albums had an inviting vibe that helped him break into mainstream pop culture, this new release lacks that energy. This is largely due to the fact that Beck hasn't modernized his production. If Beck grabbed Scott Storch, Timbaland, Max Martin: he could of made something special and refreshing. Don't get me wrong Godrich does a good job, lots of depth and consistency in production and in Beck's songwriting. However, he seems to be retracing his earlier artistic career and trying to recreate what he did with his earlier albums. If this album came out 10 years ago it would be a masterpiece. Now he sounds comfortable, not lazy, but also not quite inspiring. What disappoints me the most is that he continues to remain in the same genre of funk,rap,pop,folk, indie and throws them all into a melting pot. For an artist that has previously displayed creativity and variety with Sea Changes, Odelay, and his earlier more experimental work, it seems Beck is now repeating himself, musically and with the retro production by Godrich as well. Overall the album is average, and not that fun or entertaining. Full Review »
  2. j30
    Feb 19, 2012
    The Information is Beck returning to his weird side from Midnight Vultures days. The album is not as inviting as Midnight Vultures, but still a nice detour. I do love Nigel Godrich's production and album's "do-it-yourself" sticker album cover. Full Review »
  3. Nov 28, 2010
    His most inconsistent effort in my opinion. Still many standout tracks of course, notably Nausea, No Complaints and Think I'm In Love, but a few dud experiments too (Strange Apparition and 1000 BPM). I appreciate this album is an attempt to go back to the eclectic nature of his early albums, with an obviously more electro leaning, but it I think he was just that little bit more interesting and that little bit more mental on the likes of 'Mellow Gold' and 'Odelay'. Brilliant in parts, less so in others. Full Review »