Tomorrow on All Songs Considered we'll post a conversation we taped recently with Beck, about his new album Morning Phase. (We'll also premiere a new song from that album called "Waking Light"). While prepping for the interview, I looked over Beck's body of work from the past 20 years, and realized I couldn't find a single song or project of his I disliked. Sure, there are plenty of recordings and songs I like more than others. But overall, I find his catalog to be consistently and remarkably rewarding.
Of course, the truth is no one is perfect. Even Beck told us in our interview that he's written plenty of bad songs. What's really happening here is that Beck, for me, has earned a free pass. His artistic output has been consistent enough and high enough to warrant my unwavering attention. He can basically do any creative project he wants and, most likely, I'll always be curious about what he's doing, and find something to love.
I'm not sure how much time we should give musicians, or how much room we can give them, to really blow it, and still grant them the free pass. I know I revere Bob Dylan and Neil Young more than most musicians, but both of them have had long, long stretches of producing inconsistent, largely forgettable work. I just can't give them the free pass.
We want to know what musicians in your world get a free pass. Is there an artist or band you'll always love no matter what they release? Are there any musicians or bands you used to love who dashed that love into the rocky shores of misguided experimentation, artistic betrayal or lack of quality control?