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FUV Essentials

There are many variables that determine what makes an artist or band “essential” — longevity, impact, influence, history, discography — and WFUV takes a deeper look with FUV Essentials. On-air and online, we celebrate musicians who have shaped our cultural soundtrack. Let’s love these artists while they’re here, and honor those who have departed too soon.

Car Seat Headrest's Five Essential Beck Songs

Car Seat Headrest's Will Toledo has already released over a dozen albums via Bandcamp. Toledo's sharp, intelligent lyrics often reflect on his generation and brim with humor, violence, self-reproach, and sadness. His drive to release a lot of music, with and without his bandmates, also points to a restless documentarian, capturing ephemeral moments of millennial angst. When FUV asked him if he wanted to write about Beck—an artist who followed a not-so-dissimilar lo-fi path in his early days (without the advantages of laptop recording and Bandcamp)—Toledo agreed.


The sardonic bite of "Loser" might have helped vault Beck Hansen into a label deal and a career, but it was almost regarded as a novelty song. Its loopy, self-deprecating refrain—"I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me"—wasn't a confession, but a challenge. Beck was always far more sophisticated and complex, a man on a long road of self-discovery.