Walls (But It’s a Different Mix)

Beck’s Modern Guilt is a record I did a review of way back when I was on Neocities. Most of those old reviews don’t really do much for me these days, but this album still very much does. If you’re more into the gonzo pop music stuff Beck used to do, it’s a lot more sedate, but Beck can do subtlety just as well as he can do excess. If Mutations was all about folky decay, this one’s about chamber pop conspiracy theories. Just listen to “Chemtrails” for that. (Still top of my list of songs I’d love to cover on drums someday.)

Modern Guilt
Always been fond of the styling of the cover art.

I bring this little anomaly not as a Song of the Now (I haven’t really been listening to Beck lately–now Wilco, that’s different), but just as a general anomaly I’m putting up because there’s something curious here that doesn’t seem to have been documented anywhere else online. You see, Spotify has a totally unique alternate mix of “Walls” from this album. Out of the blue, not advertised, and the rest of the songs are all the same as the album versions. And no one else online seems to have made note of it.

I’ve captured the highest quality stream I can off Spotify Premium and I’ve embedded it here. I’ve also uploaded a FLAC copy of the direct capture to offsite in case you’d like to avoid the transcoding.

“Walls [alt mix]” by Beck

So what’s actually different here? For one thing, the drum loop both kicks in later and continues through the verse, while on the album, it starts a measure earlier and drops to just the hi-hat in the verse. There’s also some additional vocals after the second chorus, I think from Cat Power, who’s featured on the track. There’s some other mixing differences in the chorus, some differences in layering I can’t pick out but definitely don’t sound quite the same as the album version. Here’s an embed for comparison:

Really, I’m mostly curious how this one made it to the surface. Modern Guilt is one of those weird albums on Spotify with multiple versions, usually for censored versions or whatnot, but in this case, they’re both identical–save for the mixes of “Walls”, the length of “Walls” (the alt mix is a second longer), and the copyright line, “© ℗ 2008 Beck Hansen” instead of “© ℗ 2008 Beck”. Aside from that, identical.

When I emailed whiskeyclone.net about it ages ago, they’d similarly had no idea about it. Google says people stumble on this blog sometimes, so maybe if I post it, I’ll find out someday.

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