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Midnite Vultures

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Title: Midnite Vultures  
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Subject: Beck, Beck discography, Sexx Laws, Nicotine & Gravy, Michael Patterson (producer)
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Midnite Vultures

Midnite Vultures
Studio album by Beck
Released November 16, 1999
Recorded July 1998 – June 1999 at Soft Studios
Genre Alternative rock, funk rock, R&B[1]
Length 58:24
Label DGC
Producer Beck Hansen, The Dust Brothers, Tony Hoffer, Mickey Petralia
Beck chronology
Midnite Vultures
Music sample
"Get Real Paid" by Beck

Midnite Vultures is the fourth official studio album and seventh overall by American alternative rock artist Beck, released in November 1999 by Geffen Records. While similar to most of Beck's previous albums in its exploration of widely varying musical styles, Midnite Vultures didn't achieve the same blockbuster success as his breakthrough, Odelay, though it was still critically and commercially well received.


  • Recording 1
  • Influences 2
  • Release 3
  • Critical reception 4
  • Track listing 5
  • Additional recordings 6
  • Personnel 7
  • Charts 8
  • Certifications 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Working titles for the album included Zatyricon (the name of a song released in 2000 as a B-side on the "Nicotine & Gravy" single and later included on the Beck EP) and I Can Smell the V.D. in the Club Tonight (a line from "Milk & Honey").[2]


Several songs were directly inspired by other songs: "Get Real Paid" features a spiraling sequencer motif reminiscent of Kraftwerk's "It's More Fun to Compute"; a synth breakdown in "Milk & Honey" echoes a similar riff in Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message"; "Beautiful Way" came about after listening to The Velvet Underground's "Countess from Hong Kong"; and "Debra" was inspired by both Prince's hit "Raspberry Beret" and the David Bowie song "Win."


Midnite Vultures reached #34 in the US, where it went gold, and also hit #19 in the UK. As of July 2008, Midnite Vultures has sold 743,000 copies in the United States.[3]

The first 500,000 copies came in a digipak.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (83/100)[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [5]
The A.V. Club (positive)[1]
E! Online [6]
Entertainment Weekly A−[7]
NME (8/10)[8]
Pitchfork Media (8.5/10)[9]
Q [4]
Robert Christgau [10]
Rolling Stone [11]
Yahoo! Music UK [12]

The album was praised by most critics; Rolling Stone, NME and Pitchfork Media gave it four-star reviews (8.5/10 on Pitchfork). It was awarded the status of 'Universal Acclaim' by Metacritic with a score of 83/100, but in 2006 was named the 50th 'Worst Album Ever' by Q, despite the fact that they gave the album four stars.[4][13] In 2013, NME ranked the album at number 307 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[14]

One critical review came from AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine. In his review, Erlewine praises the album at first, but then points out "Hollywood Freaks" as an obvious low point on the album, stating that "It's the first on Midnite Vultures to feel like a parody, and it's such an awkward, misguided shift in tone that it colors the rest of the album", and that "for all [of Midnite Vulture's] ingenuity, [Hollywood Freaks suggests] it's just a hipster joke."[5]

Midnite Vultures was nominated in 2001 for Album of the Year at the 43rd Grammy Awards.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Beck Hansen, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Sexx Laws"   3:39
2. "Nicotine & Gravy"   5:13
3. "Mixed Bizness"   4:10
4. "Get Real Paid"   4:44
5. "Hollywood Freaks" (Hansen, John King, Michael Simpson) 3:59
6. "Peaches & Cream"   4:54
7. "Broken Train"   4:11
8. "Milk & Honey" (Hansen, Buzz Clifford) 5:18
9. "Beautiful Way"   5:44
10. "Pressure Zone"   3:14
11. "Debra" ("Debra" ends at 5:42, an untitled hidden track starts at 12:42) 13:46

Additional recordings

The following songs were recorded during the Midnite Vultures sessions but did not make the album. Some appear on the limited edition EP Beck.

  • "Almost a Ghost" (unreleased)
  • "Arabian Nights" (Appeared as a Japanese Bonus Track)
  • "Dirty Dirty"
  • "Earthquake Weather" (At the time an untitled instrumental - Beck came up with lyrics post-9/11 and recorded this new arrangement for Guero).
  • "Midnite Vultures"
  • "This Is My Crew"
  • "Rental Car"
  • "Salt in the Wound"
  • "Zatyricon"


  • Beck – synthesizer, guitar, piano, keyboards, programming, vocals, choir, chorus, producer, vocoder, horn arrangements, mixing
  • David Campbell – viola, string arrangements, string conductor
  • Larry Corbett – cello
  • Joel Derouin – violin
  • Brian Gardner – mastering
  • Bernie Grundman – mastering
  • Greg Leisz – pedal steel
  • Jay Dee Maness – pedal steel
  • Johnny Marr – electric guitar
  • Michael Patterson – mixing
  • Herb Pedersen – banjo
  • Fernando Pullum – horn
  • David Ralicke – trombone
  • Joe Turano – horn, background vocals
  • Arnold McCuller – background vocals
  • Smokey Hormel – guitar
  • Joey Waronker – percussion, drums
  • Beth Orton – background vocals
  • Chris Bellman – mastering
  • The Dust Brothers – scratching, programming, producer, engineer
  • Robert Carranza – string engineer
  • Steve Baxter – horn, background vocals
  • Justin Meldal-Johnsen – synthesizer, bass, guitar, percussion, background vocals, handclapping, shaker, upright bass
  • Steve Mixdorf – second engineer
  • Valerie Pinkston – background vocals
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr. – organ, synthesizer, piano, tambourine, background vocals, choir, chorus, clavinet, percussion, shaker, vocoder
  • Mickey Petralia – programming, producer, engineer, mixing
  • Shauna O'Brien – project manager
  • DJ Swamp – scratching
  • Eve Butler – violin
  • Charlie Gross – photography
  • Arroyo Bombers – choir, chorus
  • Arroyo Tabernacle Men's Chorale – choir, chorus
  • Jon Birdsong – trumpet
  • Derek Carlson – second engineer
  • Eye – artwork, art direction, design, collage
  • Gimbop – layout direction
  • Michel Gondry – collage
  • Tony Hoffer – guitar, programming, producer, engineer, editing, mixing, wah wah guitar, sound design
  • David Arthur Brown – tenor sax
  • SA


Charts (1999) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 34
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 41
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[17] 32
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[18] 88
French Albums (SNEP)[19] 19
German Albums (Official Top 100)[20] 46
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[21] 33
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[22] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 29
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 42
UK Albums (OCC)[25] 19
US Billboard 200[26] 34


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[27] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Phipps, Keith (1999-11-23). "Beck: Midnite Vultures".  
  2. ^ "Beck "Milk and Honey" Lyrics". Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Ask Billboard".  
  4. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Midnite Vultures".  
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Midnite Vultures - Beck".  
  6. ^,1107,1582,00.html
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (1999-11-26). "Midnite Vultures Review".  
  8. ^ "Album Reviews - Midnite Vultures".  
  9. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (1999-11-25). "Beck: Midnite Vultures".  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Pareles, Jon (2002-11-27). "Midnite Vultures".  
  12. ^ Gilbert, Ben (1999-11-22). "'"Beck - 'Midnite Vultures.  
  13. ^ Q lists - page3
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  18. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  22. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Beck – Midnite Vultures". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "1999-12-04 Top 40 UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Beck – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Beck. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  27. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures".  
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Beck – Midnite Vultures".   Enter Midnite Vultures in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Beck – Midnit Vultures".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links

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