“Why not just settle down with one style and be happy?” asked Stephen Colbert, deep in faux-conservative character, on last night’s Colbert Report. Beck, his guest, replied laconically, with a smile: “I don’t know. It’s a good question. I just need to settle down, yeah.” Beck Hansen’s wandering muse is on full display again: Along with gently kidding around with Colbert and performing “Heart Is a Drum,” from his introspective new album, Morning Phase, and “Heaven’s Ladder,” from the just-released Song Reader album, on the Report, the multiplatinum “Loser” also shared a gothic-inclined video for “Heart Is a Drum” (below; scroll down for the Colbert clips).
The black-and-white video — directed by Sophie Muller, whose credits include No Doubt, Lana Del Rey, Garbage, Blur and the Killers — is eerie and enigmatic, which turns out to be a satisfying match for the glinting, West Coast-style folk-pop meditation it accompanies. An old house? A bleak love story? Astronauts? The grim reaper? Why not? According to a statement, the video “finds Beck in a rural backwoods limbo, encountering figures from his past, present and possible future — including one with an uncanny resemblance to his former self as captured in 1993′s immortal ‘Loser’ clip.”
On Colbert, meanwhile, Beck and the host traded descriptions for the singer’s music (Stephen: “Neo lo-fi rave-funk”; Beck: “jungle dub cool-out lounge banjo”), discussed Beck’s latest melancholy turn (Stephen: “Why Beck sad?” Beck: “I just need a hug”), and examined Beck’s new LP based on the Song Reader sheet music project (Stephen: “Were a lot of your fans coming up to you and saying, ‘I love your music, I just hate you playing it?’”). Beck said Jack White and Jeff Tweedy record his songs better than he does; White, for that matter, just joined Beck onstage over the weekend in Rhode Island.
“Heart Is a Drum”