On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Beck – Devil’s Haircut (1996)
” Devils Haircut” is a song by the American musician Beck. The song was released as the second single from his 1996 album . In 2003, ranked it at number 467 in their list of the “1001 Best Songs Ever”. The music video for the song is directed by Mark Romanek.
We’re leaving the UK today, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to California. We have a second appearance today from Beck. He first appeared back in 1993 with his breakthrough hit, Loser, which was popular across the globe. Three years later and Beck has struggled to replicate the success of that song, even being dismissed by many critics. The release of his fifth album – Odelay – was an opportunity to try and win back the doubters. From there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Devil’s Haircut.
Pinning down meaning in Devil’s Haircut is no easy task. To offer credence to how mammoth a task this is, one needs only point to an episode of Futurama where Beck provided his voice and in that show his character begged the question, what is Devil’s Haircut about? The song continues some bizarre, yet poetic imagery, as Beck regales us with uncomfortable scenes such as eyes being ripped from sockets, the faces of lepers and numerous mentions of the devil. Beck himself has offered various interpretations over the years including an attack on vanity while others have discerned it as a commentary on his music career or maybe even links to drug addiction.
Devil’s Haircut is a peculiar track with what sounds like a dance drum beat, while an eerie guitar riff is dominant. Having struggled somewhat in the aftermath of the success of Loser, the album – Odelay – would be a return to form for Beck. I wasn’t familiar with this song before but I heard another song from the record – Where It’s At – which I recall being played heavily on MTV. Both Odelay and Devil’s Haircut were big hits for Beck and helped to silence much of the negativity he had received from critics.
Favourite songs so far: