Friday, March 8, 2013


Beck killed the headlights and put it in neutral to coast this bluesy hip hop slacker anthem from indie to the majors for the bozo nightmare of his biggest hit. Beck Hanson (Bek David Campbell) dropped out of high school and took a bus to New York City where he became involved in the anti-folk scene: "It was the whole cliche. Went on a fucking bus. I had, like, $8 in my pocket like a total idiot with a guitar and nothing else...That scene was the whole punk-rock thing, which was right on for me. Punk was always sort of my favorite. But all I had was an acoustic guitar, and no one wanted to play with me. Here was a whole scene with people with just acoustic guitars punking out really hard." After a year with no success, he returned to Los Angeles: "I was tired of being cold, tired of getting beat up. It was hard to be in New York with no money, no place, no honey, no thermostats, no spoons, no Cheerios. I kinda used up all the friends I had. Everyone on the scene got sick of me."

In L.A. he started playing small clubs and started improvising: "I'd be banging away on a Son House tune and the whole audience would be talking," Beck recalls. "So maybe out of desperation or boredom, or the audience's boredom, I'd make up these ridiculous songs just to see if people were listening. `Loser' was an extension of that."

He caught the attention of Tom Rothrock, co-owner of independent record label Bong Load, who connected him with Carl Stephenson, a record producer for Rap-A-Lot Records. 'Loser' was written and recorded over six hours at Stephenson's home. Beck says: "I don't think I would have been able to go in and do 'Loser' in a six-hour shot without having been somewhat prepared. It was accidental, but it was something that I'd been working toward for a long time." Hanson had been trying to emulate Chuck D: "When he played it back, I thought, 'Man, I'm the worst rapper in the world, I'm just a loser.' So I started singing 'I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me.'"

'Loser' was originally released on a pressing of five hundred copies on Bong Load Records. The single caught fire and spread around alternative and college radio stations up the west coast, eventually catching the attention of major labels. Beck would eventually sign with Geffen Records DGC imprint. Geffen re-released the single and it was a worldwide smash hit. 'Loser' would chart at twenty-eight in Ireland, twenty-one in the Netherlands, twenty in France, nineteen in Switzerland, eighteen in Germany, fifteen in the UK, ten in Austria and on the US hot 100, eight in Australia, seven in Canada, six in Sweden, five in New Zealand, and number on in Norway and on the US alternative chart.

Beck was surprised by the instant success: "It's just a jam. I've been playing it for five years. It feels like somebody keeps putting the tape on rewind and you don't even know who turned the power on ... A year ago I was living in a shed behind a house with a bunch of rats, next to an alley downtown. I had zero money and zero possibilities. I was working in a video store doing things like alphabetizing the pornography section for minimum wage...Believe me, all of this has fallen in my lap. I was never good at getting jobs or girls or anything. I never even made flyers for my shows. And until, like, six months ago, I didn't know that you could get paid for playing ... I don't come up with this easily digestible, what-you-see-is-what-you-get thing: 'This is my hairstyle, this is my outfit.' So people made up the slacker image for me. Being attached to a highly disposable segment of the popular culture--the one-hit wonders, the cartoon slackers, the video phantoms--it's a little troublesome ... It's never been a conscious effort to be weird; but there's no point in saying something you don't have any feeling for. If you do use cliches, it's good to batter them around, cover them with feathers, put sirens on them and make their presence felt.''

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey
Butane in my veins and I’m out to cut the junkie
With the plastic eyeballs, spray-paint the vegetables
Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose
Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flamin’ with a loser and the cruise control
Baby’s in Reno with the vitamin d
Got a couple of couches, sleep on the love-seat
Someone came sayin’ I’m insane to complain
About a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt
Don’t believe everything that you breathe
You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve
So shave your face with some mace in the dark
Savin’ all your food stamps and burnin’ down the trailer park

Yo. cut it.

Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?

(double barrel buckshot)
Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?

Forces of evil on a bozo nightmare
Ban all the music with a phony gas chamber
’cuz one’s got a weasel and the other’s got a flag
One’s on the pole, shove the other in a bag
With the rerun shows and the cocaine nose-job
The daytime crap of the folksinger slob
He hung himself with a guitar string
A slab of turkey-neck and it’s hangin’ from a pigeon wing
You can’t write if you can’t relate
Trade the cash for the beef for the body for the hate
And my time is a piece of wax fallin’ on a termite
who's chokin’ on the splinters

Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
(get crazy with the cheese whiz)
Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
(drive-by body-pierce)
(yo bring it on down)

?em llik uoy t'nod yhw os ,ybab resol a m'I rodedreP nu yos
[It's the Chorus backwards]

(I’m a driver, I’m a winner; things are gonna change I can feel it)

Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
(I can’t believe you)
Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
(Sprechen Sie Deutsch hier, Baby!)
Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
(know what I’m sayin’? )

"Soul Suckin Jerk (Reject)" – 6:10

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