Song of the Week: “Loser” by Beck

by Douglas Cowie on 16 October 2015

Each Friday I pick a song–new, old, borrowed, blue–that’s been on my mind and in my ears, and write a short post about it.

This is “Loser” by Beck:

For no good reason “Loser” popped into my head late a couple nights ago.  Back in 1994 I was a teenager and Beck released three albums, all of which my friends and I loved: Mellow Gold (Geffen), Stereopathetic Soulmanure (Flipside), and One Foot in the Grave (K Records). “Loser” was the first single on Mellow Gold, and being the album on the major label, was the song/album that made the guy famous. A couple of my friends swore by Stereopathetic Soulmanure, but I think that was in part a pose against the sudden popularity of Beck (though let’s be frank, we’d only heard of him the same way as everybody else). Over the next couple of years, One Foot in the Grave became my favorite of the three, and still is, but at the time, I listened to Mellow Gold like I wanted to wear out the tape (which I might have; I don’t remember. I wore out a lot of tapes).

An adult at the time asked me, when I was singing “Loser” to myself, what I thought the line, “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey” meant; did I think it was about being a misfit, etc., etc.? I replied something like, “I don’t think it really means anything.” Twenty-one years later, I still don’t, but I still like it just as much.

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