Beck Hansen must have spent hours listening to his old vinyl when writing the mellow Modern Guilt. The LA sound is shot straight out of 1960s Laurel Canyon, complete with psychedelic guitars, surf-rock riffs and acid-freaky piano sounds that'd make Sergeant Pepper proud. But this current-day hippie keeps it contemporary, thanks to Danger Mouse's well-suited, collage-style production and lyrics warning of modern apocalypse. (In "Gamma Ray," the ice caps melt down while kids boogie on the beach; "Chemtrails" sees the flower children "climb a hole in the sky.") And yet, through all the doom and gloom, Modern Guilt is Beck's best in years.
--Sue Carter Flinn