When Kendrick Lamar released the credits for his 2017 album DAMN., there was one name amongst the long roster of producers and features that stood out. Amid the star-studded list of U2, Rihanna, James Blake, BADBADNOTGOOD and more, the anonymous “Bekon” credited on eight different tracks left everybody guessing. A google search for his name lead to a myriad of results questioning the identity of the “mysterious DAMN. producer.” Some speculated he was Thundercat, some said it was another alias for Kendrick himself. Shortly after the credits were released, Pitchfork confirmed that the mysterious Bekon was Daniel Tannenbaum, a producer who had worked with many other artists under the name Danny Keyz. Ten months after the release of DAMN., Bekon has released his debut album, Get with The Times, and it’s as brilliant as it is unexpected.There’s a wide range of sounds on Get with The Times, from cinematic to psychedelic pop/rock. It begins with the familiar line “America / God bless you if it’s good to ya,” on the track “America”, with deepened vocals over an array of strings and wiggly guitar riffs. Then there’s tracks like “17,” a less political reflection on the many hardships of being 17, sounding more like a Simon and Garfunkel song than a Kendrick feature. The title track opens with a guitar riff evocative of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” moving into a rap verse, and then a chorus sounding like a pop ballad. Throughout the 16-song album there are repeating motifs of “I just wanna be famous,” and “God bless America,” hinting at some overarching political undertones. However, these themes fail to develop fully. They have the potential to be explored further, making for a really wonderful concept album, instead they recur intermittently throughout the album after 3-4 song digressions. Concept aside, Get with The Times is a successful venture, demonstrating a mastery of genre and just how talented of a producer Bekon really is.After accruing a long list of top-notch producer credits, Bekon is finally able to share with us his own voice – and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
By Jordan Smith