Listen to Beck's Sheet Music Album in All Its YouTube-Covered Glory

"Bringing them to life depends on you," Beck wrote of the 20 new songs he never put to tape. Here, a mosaic-style spin through the whole record, courtesy of the Internet and many talented musicians
 / January 3, 2013

The Album as YouTube Mosaic

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Douglas Mason

Beck's new record is finally here—sort of! The musical auteur's Beck Hansen Song Reader "album," a collection of 20 new, original songs released only in sheet music format, dropped in December, but "bringing them to life depends on you," Beck wrote when the project was announced. As we begin 2013, the Internet is filling up accordingly with renditions of Beck's new work. 

The interpretations are beautiful, kooky, electronic, folksy, solo performances in bedrooms and carefully orchestrated, professionally filmed endeavors. The Portland Cello Project recently recorded the entire album, and the staff of The New Yorker magazine earlier performed one of the cuts, "Old Shanghai."

"The Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012," Beck wrote of the project. "An alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that's as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together."

Here, we've collected 20 of our favorite covers floating around the web. Enjoy your full, purposefully patchworky listen through The Beck Hansen Song Reader.

1. "Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard"

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As performed by the Los Angeles-based trio Song Preservation Society.

2. "I'm Down"

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As performed by Orlando's The Mud Flappers.

3. "Saint Dude"

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As performed by Kurt Andersen and the staff and hosts of WNYC and WQXR.

4. "Do We? We Do"

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Performed Los Angeles' Doozy.

5. "Eyes That Say 'I Love You'"

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As performed by Orlando's Theories of Everything.

6. "Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings"

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As performed by the Texas one-man project NS/NS.

7. "Please Leave a Light on When You Go"

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As performed by Brooklyn's Brittain Ashford and Dave Malloy.

8. "Rough on Rats"

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As performed by New York City's Brendon Thomas of Foreverinmotion.

9. "Old Shanghai"

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As performed by The New Yorker staffers.

10. "Sorry"

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As performed by London's Ed Harcourt.

11. "Why Did You Make Me Care?"

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As performed by Frith.

12. "Heaven's Ladder"

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As performed by Scottish YouTube-user Unplugged70.

13. "America, Here's My Boy"

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As performed by Liela Moss of London's Duke Spirits.

14. "Just Noise"

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As performed by Orlando's beef wellington.

15. "We All Wear Cloaks"

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As performed by Melbourne, Australia's Hanna Silver.

16. "Mutilation Rag"

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As performed by Germany's Jochen.

17. "The Wolf Is on the Hill"

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As performed by San Francisco YouTube user BeckSongReader.

18. "Title of This Song"

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As performed by Canada's David Scott.

19. "The Last Polka"

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As performed by Orlando's F.C. Belt.

20. "Last Night You Were a Dream"

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As performed by West Chester, Pennsylvania's Ben Smith.


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