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Watch Beck Spellbind With ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Wave’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Beck, 'Saturday Night Live,' video, "Blue Moon," "Wave," 'Morning Phase,' Father John Misty

Rumors of Beck’s descent into classic-rock comfort food have been exaggerated. Sure, the erstwhile angel-headed hipster’s Mellow Gold turned 20 years old the day of his appearance as Saturday Night Live’s musical guest on March 1. And yeah, new album Morning Phase is an into-the-mystic exercise in old-fashioned songcraft that glimmers with California-folkie moonbeams. But his mesmerizing, oracular SNL performances were off in their own world to a blissful degree that you didn’t see on SNL from Imagine Dragons or, bless his art-pop heart, Justin Timberlake.

With an L.A. rock-royalty band that included Father John Misty‘s Josh Tillman along with regular cohorts like Paramore/M83/Tegan and Sara producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Beck gave a deeply reverberant rendition of “Blue Moon,” a radiant song that coats its how-to-fight-loneliness theme in Girls‘ generation a.m. dew. Even there, though, those with less tolerance for Americana could not entirely unfairly lob Mumford-kin jokes. But when Mr. Hansen returned, again with Tillman, for the wending orchestral riddle “Wave,” well, it was a long way from One Direction covering “Afternoon Delight.” Now if he can come out with an album that gets billed as Midnite Vultures 2