LONDON – “It’s actually surreal that it’s finally out,” Beck Hansen says of his 13th album, “Colors.” “It’s the longest time from inception to release I’ve ever had. It’s been like a rebirth.”
Beck knows a thing or two about renewals. As alternative rock’s shape-shifting outlier, the 47-year-old has constantly sidestepped expectation. From his early and accidental Gen X-defining slacker anthem “Loser” (1994) to his sun-kissed melancholic Grammy Award-winning album “Morning Phase” (2014), Beck has worn many masks: ironic musical magpie (“Odelay,” 1996), libidinous funkateer (“Midnite Vultures,” 1999), desolate balladeer (“Sea Change,” 2002). He’s written for film, collaborated with pop royalty (Lady Gaga, P!NK) and sang onstage with Taylor Swift. David Bowie was an admirer, although even pop’s ultimate chameleon never released an album of sheet music, like Beck’s 2012 book “Song Reader,” and encouraged fans to make their own versions of unrecorded tracks.