NPR is streaming Jeff Beck’s new album Emotion and Commotion in its entirety until the album is released next week. As you might expect from Jeff Beck, the album is very eclectic and features some uptempo rock tunes and some slower, jazzier tunes and just about everything in between.
The album’s opener, “Corpus Christi Carol”, is an almost dirge-like song with strings underscoring Beck’s tasteful playing. This provides quite a contrast to “Hammerhead”, which starts with some wah licks followed by a heavy riff from Beck. His cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is beautiful; it retains the original feel of the song but adds Beck’s unique phrasing and feel.
Joss Stone, Imelda May, and Olivia Safe provide guest vocals on a few songs on the album. Stone’s vocals on “I Put a Spell on You” really work well. This is probably my favorite track from the album. Stone also provides vocals on a song titled “There’s No Other Me.” Imelda May’s track is also good, but I was expecting a more rockabilly tune based on what I know of May’s material, but the track is actually a slow, reflective tune. Olivia Safe’s vocals provide an ethereal, operatic feel to her two tracks.
While I’m not into some of the slower tunes on the album, overall it’s a very solid effort from a guitarist who still appears to be in his prime. If you like any of Beck’s previous catalog, there’s probably something on Emotion and Commotion that you’ll like. And, for the next week, you can listen free over at NPR.org.