“Modern Guilt” (Beck Cover)

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to yet another quality edition of the Laptop Sessions music blog, dedicated to bringing you the best cover songs on the web today!

Today’s acoustic cover is Beck’s “Modern Guilt” off his 2008 album of the same name. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how I would like the album, which came highly recommended from one of my students. But, being in an experimental mood and curious to try it out, I went out and picked it up. Beck works with Danger Mouse on this CD, and it is the latter’s drum beats that really propel the album as a whole. I’m usually not a fan of artificial drum sounds, but I think that they really work for some of these songs. In fact, the reason why I think I’m okay with the drum sounds is that they sounded so much like real drums to me until I read the liner notes in the booklet. Now, granted, I’m not the best judge of sounds in albums, so it may be really obvious that these are fake drums…

For my tastes, the first third of the album is good, the middle third is excellent, and the final section is okay. “Modern Guilt” is track four and the first of my three favorite songs (tracks 4-6). Probably the most enjoyable part of playing this as an acoustic cover song is its beat and how it is fun to play in a staccato fashion with the strumming. Another fun aspect of playing this song as an acoustic version was that I really learned the words — I’d have to say one of my biggest criticisms of the album is that it has great lyrics… that I have a really difficult time understanding. It’s not that I don’t understand the lyrics themselves; in fact, I really like what these songs are about and how he has worded them. But, whether through his singing or the way the album was mixed, I have a difficult time hearing what he is saying.

Well, that’s enough about new rock music for today. I’m going to echo Jim’s post from yesterday and urge you to keep checking back as Jim and I begin to post our collaborative videos; he, Becky, and I sat down last week and recorded several group sessions that are certain to impress.

For now, you can tide yourself over by tuning in tomorrow for another excellent, all-new acoustic rock cover song from our very own Jeff Copperthite…

See you next session!

“Canceled Check” (Beck Cover)

For Beck chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another all-new week of cover song music videos at the Laptop Sessions!  This promises to be a good week, because not only will there be new Monday and Tuesday videos, but I will also be publishing my review of the new Weezer album.

And, trust me, that one will be a doozie…

For now, though, let’s focus on the present.  Tonight’s video is a song that I came across quite randomly on my iTunes, intending to listen to it only to test out a theory I have about how the “skip count” works on the software.  From the first few moments of the song, I was immediately interested in it.  As the song continued to play out, I picked up my guitar and began working the chords out.  Then, after listening to it a dozen times this weekend, I was ready to record my session tonight.

The song I am referring to is Beck’s “Canceled Check,” the fourth track from his 1998 album Mutations.  I suppose you could say that this was dumb luck that I stumbled across this song, but I truly knew within the first thirty seconds of hearing this song for the first time that it would make a fun cover song music video.  The album as a whole is actually very enjoyable, blending strong acoustic guitar and harmonica elements with more experimental sounds, such as the confusion that closes this track.  For my session, I enlisted a little help and am excited to present an “experimental” ending of my own.  (I hope you enjoy it!)

This music video also has the virtue of being one of the very few, if not the ONLY, Laptop Sessions that I’ve completed in one recorded take.  Granted, I spent a good deal of time practicing, but still…

In other personal music news, I recently sent a reply email to the Fruit Bats, commenting about their excellent performance on the Craig Ferguson show (the Fruit Bats mailing sent out the link to view it) and their excellent album.  I wrote, “I’ve been listening since “Spelled in Bones,” but the new album has me spellbound and officially a BIG fan. Again, thank you for what is easily one of the top 5 best albums of the year!!! (and I’ve bought almost 30 new albums this year already, so I feel like I have some perspective!)”

The reply?  Well, I wasn’t so much expecting a reply as I was just simply compelled to write this feedback.  I write so many music reviews here, and particularly for a band as under the radar as the Fruit Bats, I just had to try sending my words out to them.

I did get a reply, and I’m grateful to whoever decided to send it.  However, it made me feel like I was in high school again.  The response read, “Wow — thanks Chris!”

And, yup, this suddenly reminded me of the reply of several girls to whom I confessed my affection for.  It’s kind of like that moment when someone says “I love you” to someone else, and that person replies by thanking them.

Anyway, I really was happy to get a reply.  Most bands that I listen to wouldn’t take the time to do even that.  Coming from someone who has been in a band that worked overtime for not so much return, though, I would have been compelled to say something more in reply…

Still love their album. 🙂

Without further ado, I hope that you enjoy my take on “Canceled Check.”  I certainly enjoyed recording it — in fact, I had more fun learning and recording this song than I have had in a good long time.  Of course, don’t forget to hurry back for more great posts tomorrow and later this week!

See you next session!

“Canceled Check” by Beck – Chords, Tabs, & How to Play

To see how it’s played in the cover song music video, CLICK HERE!

“Canceled Check”

B                               D       A  E     A       B
I hate to do this, but you’re a pain in the neck.
I thought you knew this; you handed me a canceled check.
You’re so helpless; your girlfriends think you’re a saint.
B                                      D       A  E     A                 D
I’ll give you a quarter; I’ll keep my judgments to myself…

D                                        F#
And I get caught up in the moonlight,
F#                          B                             B7
Reaching out for a rotten egg — I don’t wanna beg —
B7  G                         F#                  B
It’s crystal clear your time is nearly gone.

Count your blessings, and do the things that you should.
Oh, the has-beens that never had it so good…
Stormy weather, the kids are making a racket
In the wilderness, the wild lives are so mild…

And I get caught up in the moonlight,
Reaching out for a rotten egg — I don’t wanna beg —
It’s crystal clear your time is nearly gone.

SOLO (over verse chords)

And I get caught up in the moonlight,
Reaching out for a rotten egg — I don’t wanna beg —
It’s crystal clear your time is nearly gone.

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **