Skip to main content

Beck to Release New Album, 'Song Reader,' As Sheet Music

If you want to hear Beck's new studio album, you'd better know how to read music and have access to a recording studio. Or at least a guitar.

That's because the album, Song Reader, is being released as individual pieces of sheet music. Beck wants fans to "bring the songs to life" themselves.

The album, which is being released by a publisher -- Faber and Faber -- in December, will consist of the notation for 20 new, unrecorded Beck tunes.

The sheet music will be accompanied by color art work pertaining to each song, plus a hardcover carrying case. The album's 20 "tracks" include two instrumentals, and some of the song titles include "Do We? We Do," "We All Wear Cloaks" and "Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard."

"Beck is one of the great maverick pop stars of this, or any age, and as soon as I saw Song Reader the relevance of the concept struck me," Lee Brackstone, Faber and Faber's publishing director, told "It is thrilling to welcome Beck onto a music list at Faber that is already home to Julian Cope, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Jarvis Cocker, Nicky Wire and others. Song Reader makes a radical statement about the value and importance of performed and recorded music at a time when these very things are under threat."

Song Reader sports 108 pages, including 20 individual song booklets. The illustrations are by Marcel Dzama, Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische and others.

What do you think of this idea? Brilliant? Ridiculous? Too 1912? Sound off in the comments below!

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.