Let’s get the facts straight. The world is a better place with Beck in it. The guy has spent the best part of three decades systematically churning out diverse and quality-rich albums whilst slipping through the cracks of the mainstream and evading the constraints of being pigeonholed by the music press and fans alike. In other words, Beck does just about whatever the fuck Beck wants – and we love him for it, right? From Mellow Gold to Odelay, Morning Phase to Sea Change, Beck’s back catalogue is brimming with songs that conform only to the persona that Beck feels like adhering to at the time.

On 2014’s Morning Phase, we left the artist strumming an acoustic guitar woven into a mellow, almost psychedelic plane; on Colors, we find a sharper and more upbeat version of him – obviously tapping into a completely different creative well. The album opens with its title track, which serves as a perfect summation of what’s to come, complete with a powerful drumbeat and an electronic-heavy composition that wouldn’t feel out of place on dancefloors the world over. Beck’s distinctive voice gels well with the overlaid synthesized backing vocals and although it seems unlikely, I even enjoy the synth-y panpipe hook. It’s a good track, and an ideal welcome into an album that, like it or not, will make you want to dance.

Second track ‘Seventh Heaven’ is nothing special, but keeps up the positive vibes, with a relatively catchy chorus, but it’s track three where the balance of classic Beck-esque composition, slightly retro synths and this new found love for (please forgive me) dancefloor bangerz really comes into its own. ‘I’m So Free’ does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s a carefree anthem that will no doubt end up doing the rounds on every radio station in the western world. Fourth track ‘Dear Life’ brings the tone back slightly to the sounds of Beck’s past. There’s a very 90s radio-rock vibe that gels with the well crafted vocal melodies and a guitar hook that would be at home on an Queens of the Stone Age track.

The obviously carefully-crafted balance that swayed heavily in the favour of previous tracks strays slightly on ‘No Distraction’. Whereas it’s still a perfectly pleasant track, it presents no real contribution in terms of fresh ideas. In fact, it could be said that the melody is ripped from just about any radio-friendly pop track of the last ten years. Luckily the balance is restored once again on ‘Dreams’, only to be completely shattered to seven shades of shit on seventh track ‘Wow’. Honestly, there’s little to be said about the track. The trap-esque beat sounds like a dodgy Kendrik Lamar reject and Beck’s (improvised? They sound improvised; poorly, very poorly) lyrics are just not good. I can hear a basic concept for the song in there somewhere but honestly in execution, it just doesn’t work.

In comparison, ‘Up All Night’ redeems some of the album’s past successes, but it also sounds suspiciously like another recent pop track. Ten points if you can immediately identify which song I’m talking about. Actually, no ten points for you; it’s painfully obvious. And that’s kind of the problem with the whole album; whereas it’s extremely well produced and features lashings of that winning Beck composition, it does sound like the artist has done maybe too much research before launching into a record that will no doubt win the favour of a more mainstream audience. Both ‘Square One’ and album ender ‘Fix Me’ hit home with those classic pop sensibilities, doing nothing to dissuade me from my previously resolute opinion.

Overall it’s a fun album of two halves. The first half tows the line between the cheesy elements of radio pop that even the snarkiest Slayer fan secretly loves, and some truly inspirational, if not fleeting, compositional substance. The second half, although still very much a fun listen, somewhat strays. Ultimately on Colors Beck has done exactly what Beck does – whatever the fuck he wants. Those looking for a continuation of Morning Phase may yet get it, but not in 2017.