Favorite Sessions

Beck's 'Song Reader': Interpreting An Apology

Beck Hansen's 12th and newest album isn't much of an album at all. Song Reader is a collection of 20 songs rendered as sheet music, released in December by McSweeney's Publishing. With the exception of one song performed at a benefit concert, Beck hasn't performed any of these songs live. The recordings can't be downloaded; you can't buy them on CD.

The only way to hear Song Reader is to play it yourself, much in the way popular music was consumed a century ago. Before the days of radio, the easiest way to hear a song was to play it. Songs were written primarily for various performers to interpret them.

The Current producers, in what proved a massive undertaking, asked 14 artists to cover Beck's new songs. (You can see the whole list here.) In this video, The Twin Cities Funk and Soul All-Stars (feat. Sonny Knight) layer multiple takes on top of one another to flesh out a sunny soul take on Becks' brooding "Sorry."

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itoggle caption /Adam Kissick for NPR

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itoggle caption Dave Lichterman/KEXP

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Elle Varner performs at NPR Music's CMJ show. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

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