#483 ‘Nicotine & Gravy’ by Beck (19 June)

Album: Midnite Vultures, 1999

Justification: When I was in high school one of my best friends was the son of an Anglican minister. We were incredibly good pals, he was amazing through my fathers’ illness and death and my memories of him – for we have drifted apart over the years – are nothing but fond. He was raised Anglican, and considered himself a member of the Uniting Church although I don’t believe he and I ever had a serious theological discussion, much less an argument.

“As long as the cover has neon lights linking the genitals, we’re happy” – the marketing people at Geffen

Now, obviously, he and I differed on a lot of pretty core beliefs about how the universe works. If he had said to me that, gun to his head, he couldn’t be friends with me unless I accepted that the mysterious invisible creature in the sky did everything and wanted me to obey a serious of confusingly vague and often contradictory instructions about how to behave, I’d probably have laughed in his face. But he didn’t and we remained dear friends until out lives took us to different parts of the country in our mid-20s, though we catch up occasionally and enjoy a drink together to this day (well, to about six years ago when last our paths crossed).

This is a longwinded way of explaining why my love for Beck is not hampered by the batshit crazy things he believes. He was raised as a Scientologist by a father that was a friend of L. Ron Hubbard, and given the particular strictures of Scientology to reject those core beliefs would be to be cut off from his entire family and support structure. Obviously I think what they peddle is nonsense, but if Beck thought “hey, this Xenu stuff does sound a bit bullshitty,” he’d had to lose most of the people close to him. I know Muslims and Christians in the exact same hardline religious boat: the price of being correct is to lose everyone they love. That’s too great a cost for just about anyone to bear.

Beck seems like a smart, funny, savvy sort of a dude – and certainly, the one time I interviewed him that was very much my experience – but I can easily see why he would have an incentive to engage in a bit of cognitive dissonance (or, to get all Orwellian on it, doublethink) to get on with his day to day life.

And that is a longwinded way of saying that I have no problem whatsoever in loving Beck’s music pretty much without any reservation while thinking that his religion is very, very silly indeed.

I didn’t even know this was a single (though only in Europe), though it’s been playing on an almost constant loop in my head since I attended a party on Saturday where I took stern and forthright control of the stereo, during which time a good deal of Midnite Vultures was played and danced to with friends old and new. A great night, and an incredibly underrated album.

SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2010 & 2011: Nothing? Really? Curse you, Xenu! Alright, see how the end of the century was looking with the 1999 archive.


478. The Raconteurs: Steady, As She Goes (7 June)

479. The Blackeyed Susans: Shangri-La (12 June)

480. Vic Reeves & the Wonder Stuff: Dizzy (13 June)

481. Billy Bragg: Sexuality (14 June)

482. The Weakerthans: Civil Twilight (18 June)

2 thoughts on “#483 ‘Nicotine & Gravy’ by Beck (19 June)

  1. Pingback: #487 ‘Let’s Go All The Way’ by Sly Fox (28 Jun) | Songs You Should Rediscover Today Because They Are Awesome

  2. Pingback: #488 ‘Push th’ Little Daisies’ by Ween (29 June) | Songs You Should Rediscover Today Because They Are Awesome

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