This Is What Beck’s Sheet Music Album Sounds Like

He hasn’t recorded any of the tunes in Song Reader, but plenty of musicians have been sharing their renditions on YouTube. Here’s the best of the bunch so far.

Katy Winn / AP
ID: 784613

Beck made a point of not recording any of the tunes in Song Reader, his new book of original sheet music, because he didn’t want musicians to be overly influenced by his own performances. As you can tell from these versions recorded by a variety of professional and amateur musicians, some went their own way with the material, while others hemmed close to his own established styles.

ID: 784616

1. “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard”

ID: 782831

2. “I’m Down”

ID: 782832

3. “Saint Dude”

Kurt Andersen put together a band of staffers from two New York public radio stations for this cover on “Studio 360.”

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4. “Do We? We Do”

ID: 782834

5. “Eyes That Say ‘I Love You’”

The Portland Cello Project has actually recorded every song from the Song Reader.

ID: 782835

6. “Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings”

ID: 782836

7. “Please Leave a Light on When You Go”

ID: 782838

8. “Rough On Rats”

This version, which features Ed Harcourt on keys and the Libertines’ Carl Barat on vocals, was recorded during a special performance of the full album at Rough Trade East in London.

ID: 782840

9. “Old Shanghai”

Stephin Merritt from the Magnetic Fields performed this version on WNYC’s Soundcheck.

ID: 782841

10. “Sorry”

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11. “Why Did You Make Me Care?”

ID: 782843

12. “Heaven’s Ladder”

John Lewis also recorded every song on the album.

ID: 782845

13. “America, Here’s My Boy”

Liela Moss from the Duke Spirit joined Ed Harcourt for this track, also from the London show.

ID: 782846

14. “Just Noise”

ID: 782847

15. “We All Wear Cloaks”

Here’s an adorable home video take on “We All Wear Cloaks.”

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16. “Mutilation Rag”

Here’s another track from Kurt Andersen’s “Studio 360” session. Did I mention he wore a Beck mask and played xylophone with a Sharpie?

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17. “The Wolf Is on the Hill”

These guys are taking a cue from Beck’s Record Club and recording a new song every week.

ID: 782854

18. “Title of This Song”

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19. “The Last Polka”

ID: 782856

20. “Last Night You Were A Dream”

ID: 782857

Feeling inspired? Grab a copy of the Song Reader from McSweeney’s and submit a cover to Beck’s site.

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