The Best 25 Beck Quotes

The 52-year-old Los Angeles-born singer Beck David Hansen—aka Beck—became a household name in the ’90s with his song, “Loser.” The grody opening acoustic is a refrain you didn’t think you’d hear in a hit.

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Since then, he’s been impressing fans with his rock and roll songwriting talents. The four-time platinum-selling artist has released 14 studio albums to date. He’s also been nominated for 22 Grammy Awards, winning eight.

But what does the songwriter have to say about the world outside of his songs? What are his thoughts on life and love, his craft, and the way he processes his surroundings?

Without further ado, here are the 25 best Beck quotes.

1. “When I started out playing small clubs, you could feel the room recoil from certain kinds of songs. Anything that was too personal, that had a sentiment to it, or was laying out your feelings, was immediately booed. People would start throwing things. And anything that was really provocative or humorous or radical was embraced or cheered.”

2. “I didn’t go to high school. I never felt connected to people my age.”

3. “There’s more things that I’d like to do. You know, each song is a little bit of a puzzle. I see most of them as just failed attempts.”

4. “Most of my early records were not cohesive at all, just collections of demos recorded in different years. ‘Odelay’ was the first time I actually got to go in the studio and record a piece of music in a continuous linear fashion, although that was written over a year.”

5. “There are certain songs that just stick around and do something that transcends whatever time they were written in. Through different eras, people are able to impart different meaning to the song, and they become part of some sort of consciousness.”

6. “I’m really fascinated by lingos and colloquialisms that are outmoded and have gone by the wayside. I love the way people spoke in the ’30s, and the amazing slang of the mid-’60s and ’70s.”

7. “I wish I had more confidence. I think that’s probably my Achilles’ heel. If I had more, I probably would have felt emboldened to make more interesting music earlier on, or really go for it in an artistic or songwriting sense.”

8. “I’m a musician. I’m not, like, a personality. I’ve never really pretended to perform that kind of function.”

9. “I hear a lot of bad TV commercials that try to sound like ‘Where It’s At.’ That pretty much turned me off from using the electric piano for a lot of years.”

10. “When you work with somebody for a long period of time, you develop a shorthand with everything.”

11. “Especially in music, you wonder, Okay, should I still be doing this? Like, are you overstaying your welcome at the party? But I don’t know.”

12. “I think you have to keep a childlike quality to play music or make a record.”

13. “The repercussions of what you put out and what people gravitate to in your music never registered at all. I never had that thing that maybe other bands have—a specific idea of what they are and what their sound is.”

14. “If someone is making a judgment when they don’t have firsthand experience, it’s intolerant. How can you make a judgment on something you don’t know about?”

15. “In the studio, I’m always throwing people on different instruments.”

16. “I enjoy the collaboration. I always envied people in bands who got to have that interaction. I’ve done so many albums where I’ve been in the studio for 14 hours a day for six months just trying to come up with things on my own. It’s a nice change helping other people with their music and not being all about what I’m trying to do myself.”

17. “It’s really hard for me to commit, one way or the other. I was just always creating and seeing what came out.”

18. “Every time you go in, it’s like starting over. You don’t know how you did the other records. You’re learning all over. It’s some weird musician amnesia, or maybe the road wipes it out.”

19. “The cliche of what a rock star is—there’s something elitist about it. I never related to that. I’m an entertainer. I think of it as you’re performing for people. It’s not a self-glorification thing.”

20. “As society changes, as politics change, as people change, certain songs still seem to resonate.”

21. “Anything goes. You always find interesting things that way.”

22. “I can’t tell you how many things I’ve worked on where I sat on it for a few years, and then somebody else did something very similar. Whether it’s some weird vocal effect you hear on another record, or a drum beat, or even a song title, a subject matter, or a mixture of different kinds of music.”

23. “Something just happens when you’re making a record, where certain things start to come out. It’s just something in the air.”

24. “Usually, the music inspires the lyrics. The lyrics just sort of fall off like a bunch of crumbs from the melody. That’s all I want them to be—crumbs. I don’t want to work any kind of fabricated message.”

25. “You have to shelve a lot of your inspiration. There’s only so much you can do with one record.”

Photo: Peter Hapak / Nasty Little Man PR

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