The Great Collaboration: Beck’s ‘Song Reader’

By Lauren Gniazdowski from original

Beck’s latest album, “Song Reader” is collection of 20 new songs unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. That’s not an excited fan’s hyperbole: The project was released only in sheet music, leaving it up to other musicians and fans to record their own versions of his songs.

NPR reports that “after making a dozen solo albums, crowdsourcing seemed like a way to make the process of releasing music a little less lonely.” Beck says: “When you write a song and make a recording and put out a record, it’s kind of [like] sending a message in a bottle. You don’t really get a lot of feedback. This is a way of sending that song out, and you just get literally thousands of bottles sent back to you.”

The contributions can be found on the Song Reader website, which was set up specifically so renditions could be shared. In addition, The Portland Cello Project performed the entire album, which I find absolutely delightful, and that recording can be listened to here or here.

If you’re curious to learn more about Song Reader, you can also check out this great interview from McSweeny’s, which published this unconventional album.