Chemtrails (song)

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Single by Beck
from the album Modern Guilt
B-side"Vampire Voltage No. 6"
ReleasedJune 22, 2008
LabelDGC Records
Songwriter(s)Beck Hansen
Producer(s)Danger Mouse
Beck singles chronology
"Gamma Ray"

"Chemtrails" is a 2008 single by American musician Beck. The song, taken from his eighth studio album, Modern Guilt, was released digitally on June 22, 2008.

The artwork for the single uses a design based on Houndstooth patterning.

Release and reception[edit]

"Chemtrails" was premiered by Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 on May 19, 2008.[1] The song was made available to stream from Beck's official website and his MySpace.[1][2] The song was available to download on June 22, 2008, or a day later in the United States, as well as a pre-order of Modern Guilt.[3][4] The song's title refers to the chemtrail conspiracy theory, as do the lyrics: "I can't believe/What we've seen outside/You and me/Watching the jets go by".[5]

The critical reception for "Chemtrails" was highly positive. Kitty Empire of The Observer compared the "beautiful" song to a clash between The Beatles and My Bloody Valentine.[6] USA Today featured the song on its weekly playlist, complimenting Beck's "eerie falsetto over slow-building industrialized Radiohead-like ambience."[7] Billboard said that "Beck's falsetto singing rides along a bouncing bassline and crashing drums, with Danger Mouse's trademark production touches filing [sic] the crannies."[1] Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal called it "the record's best psych-rock showing" and the song featured "a wicked drum exhibition"[8] The song was described as "trippy" by MTV News.[9] "Chemtrails" received high praise for "its woozy textures ... with Beck's distracted vocal and a busy drum track complementing each other perfectly."[10] James Lawrenson, writing for ClickMusic, said the song was "like a more electrified Sea Change, ambient and slightly sombre, but beautiful nonetheless." The review described the song's "synth washes and sparse instrumentation" as creating "an airy, atmospheric feel."[11]

As promotion for the album, limited edition copies of a "Chemtrails" 7" were distributed to independent record stores and were given to customers upon purchase of the album. The B-side is a song entitled "Vampire Voltage No. 6". Copies made in the UK were pressed on glow-in-the-dark white vinyl, while copies made for the US were pressed on standard black vinyl.[12]

In Italy, this song is used as the theme song to L'era glaciale ("The Ice Age", not to be confused with the film Ice Age), a talk show hosted by Italian TV personality Daria Bignardi on Rai 2, which was aired between 20 March and 4 December 2009.

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[13]
  1. "Chemtrails" – 4:39
  1. "Chemtrails" – 4:39
  2. "Vampire Voltage No. 6" – 2:19



  1. ^ a b c Jonathan Cohen (2008-05-19). "Billboard Bits: Beck, Liz Phair, Bonnaroo". Nielsen Company. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  2. ^ "Beck announces new album tracklisting". NME. IPC Media. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  3. ^ "Beck spreading across the web like a virus". 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  4. ^ "Beck streams new tracks online". NME. IPC Media. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  5. ^ Alex Rayner (2008-06-23). "Beck is back, but what's the conspiracy about chemtrails?". Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  6. ^ Kitty Empire (2008-06-29). "Dangerous times with Beck and the Mouse". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  7. ^ Edna Gundersen (2008-06-02). "This week's playist". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  8. ^ "Beck: Modern Guilt". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  9. ^ "For The Record: Beck, Motley Crue, Michael Jackson & More". MTV News. MTV. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  10. ^ Ben Hogwood (2008-06-08). "Beck — Chemtrails (XL)". Archived from the original on 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  11. ^ James Lawrenson (2008-06-23). "Chemtrails". Archived from the original on 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  12. ^ unknown (2008-07-08). "Disco Quebrado — Beck Discography — Chemtrails". Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  13. ^ "Chemtrails — Single". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. 2008-06-22. Retrieved 2008-07-10.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Chemtrails UK 7". Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2008-07-10.

External links[edit]