14. "Gamma Ray"
Album: Modern Guilt Year: 2008
Even as Beck grew older and more world-weary over the course of his albums, you never completely lose that sense that he derives a real joy from pieceing seemingly disparate elements together in patchworks of surprising sounds. On Modern Guilt, recorded with Danger Mouse, the generally upbeat production—filled with bouncy, bar room piano and jangly pop riffs—could not be more at odds with the subject matter. "Gamma Ray" takes this to its extremes, sounding at first listen like a sunny surf-rock song, but in reality wishing nuclear holocaust upon the world. There are few other living artists who could pull off a song like this without it seeming like a total joke, and Beck pulls it off with quirky aplomb.