Until now, Jeff Beck hadn’t put out an album in seven years, since the Grammy award-winning Jeff. Emotion & Commotion is not just a perfect title for Beck’s new album, but for his music, if you were to create a genre for it. It’s loud, distinctive, melodic and so emotional that it’ll make the hair on your arms stand up.
On this recent effort, both emotion and commotion overlap with such ease that you don’t think twice about which is which. You also don’t realize that 70 percent of the songs are covers—they’re now his own. “Hammerhead” is signature Beck, and he finally laid down “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” after covering it live for years. “Nessun Dorma”—from Puccini’s opera Turandot—is guitar alongside strings, which is an event that occurs more than once on this album, while the rip-roaring “There’s No Other Me” is sung by 22-year-old Joss Stone against roaring electric guitar.
Beck also pays his compliments to the late Jeff Buckley with covers of “Corpus Christi Carol” and “Lilac Wine,” where the former is completely instrumental, with his guitar hauntingly mimicking Buckley’s golden pipes, and the latter features Imelda May’s smooth crooning before transitioning to an instrumental conclusion. In addition to Stone and May is Olivia Safe, whose operatic voice blends in completely with surrounding instruments. When Beck decides to play around singers, he always brings in the best—and brings the best out of the best—because after all, he is a singer himself. He just uses his guitar.
In A Word: Definitive