Beck is the latest artist to join Audible Original’s Words + Music franchise, which combines personal memoir and musical performances for an all-encompassing picture of some of today’s biggest stars.
In his musical narrative, called “Dear Life” (sharing a name with his 2017 song), Beck shares how he carved his own creative path through an enchanting modern version of a classic hero’s journey. He also re-recorded “Loser” and “Where It’s At” for the project.
After delivering an updated version of his top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Loser” — in the exclusive Words + Music clip premiering on Billboard below — Beck recalled that “Weird Al” Yankovic wanted to put one of his characteristically goofy spins on the 1994 track. “It was going to be called ‘Schmoozer,’” the singer revealed. “I regret denying him permission to do it. I think it would have been an amazing video. I’m actually really sad it didn’t happen.”
Based on the timing, “Weird Al” was likely asking to include “Schmoozer” on his 1996 album Bad Hair Day, which peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, was certified double-platinum by the RIAA, and included the breakout hit “Amish Paradise” (which spoofed Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”… which itself samples Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise”).
One of the reasons Beck turned Yankovic down was because many reviews at the start of his career called him a “one-hit wonder” or “novelty act.” “I had a lot of people who were veterans in the business telling me at 20, 21, 22, ‘You should go back to school. You don’t really have the talent to do this. The songs as they are aren’t going to work. They’re too rough, they’re not real songs, they’re sort of hodgepodge ideas.’ They weren’t taken seriously at all.”
Certainly no one thinks that now of the eight-time Grammy winner, whose Morning Phase beat out superstars like Beyoncé and Sam Smith to win the 2015 prize for album of the year.
The Who’s Pete Townshend kicked off the most recent roster of Words + Music artists, with new recordings on the way from Mariah Carey, Carlos Santana, Tenacious D and more.
Listen to the full clip below exclusively on Billboard, before the full Words + Music segment, produced in collaboration with Gunpowder & Sky, arrives via Audible on Friday.
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