The Time Beck Speed Recorded An Album

In 1998, after a long tour promoting his album, "Odelay," avant-garde, folk-hip hop (and any other musical genre you can cram into a sentence) artist Beck began working on his follow-up album, "Mutations." Beck, who's known for pushing musical boundaries, crossing and combining genres, and testing the status quo with experimental music, had to do something different when he returned to the studio, per Rolling Stone. Rather than spending months at a time, perfectly crafting and meticulously obsessing over his new album while locked in a studio, Beck decided to go the opposite direction and record a quality album in the fastest time possible.

The experimental musician decided to look back into his catalog of unfinished songs and find music he could quickly rework into his latest project. When it came time to finding the right producer for the job, Beck teamed up with Nigel Godrich, the co-producer of Radiohead's "OK Computer." "These songs go back four years," Beck told Rolling Stone. "I had a lot of songs that were a little more contemplative, quiet and folky. Some of them I tried to record for 'Odelay,' and they just didn't pan out. I was also trying to think of a producer, and Nigel's name came up. He was heading back to England, but we talked him into staying a few extra days. It was very spontaneous. I didn't even know him."

Beck recorded Mutations in 14 days

Beck would hit the studio and record 14 songs in 14 days, with 12 songs making it to the album per Rolling Stone. Its overall sound would be more of a departure from the eclectic mix of genres heard on Beck's more popular work. Fans would be treated to something that sounded like it came from the '60s as Beck would tap into his folk, country, and blues-rock roots for most of its sound. "Mutations" would also feature an undercurrent of psychedelic mixtures, with some of its trippy sounds feeling very much influenced by Godrich. 

Beck even admitted that he wanted to do something different from what his fans would expect (which is what they do expect). "'Mutations' could be construed as, I guess, like, a solo record or something — going solo from myself," Beck laughed. "But I try to embrace the ambiguities, these two opposite sides living within one musical sphere."

According to Classic Rock Review, "Mutations" would reach the Top 20 in the U.S. and sell over a million albums worldwide. Beck, who was later signed to Geffen Records, worked out a deal to have "Mutations" released on Bong Load Records — the label that originally signed him. However, after Geffen's executives got a chance to hear it, they went back on their deal. Beck and both labels would go to court over a series of lawsuits being filed until things were settled, per MTV. It seems both labels knew the power behind the album, which would go on to win a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music and become an essential piece in Beck's discography of music.