Lord Only Knows
by Beck

Album: Odelay (1996)
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Songfacts®:

  • This country-flavored track opens with a shriek and unfolds into Beck's trademark abstract lyrics, seemingly about giving up on an old life to start a new one, "throwing your two-bit cares down the drain" - at least in part. It also ends with "going back to Houston to do the hot dog dance... to get me some pants." Make of that what you will.
  • Sometimes one sound can inspire an entire song. In this case, it was the shout at the beginning, a sample from folk rocker Mike Millius' 1969 track "Lookout For Lucy."

    "It was a great record, another one that we all just listened to and vibed off," the album's co-producer Mike Simpson explained in a MusicRadar interview. "Basically there's this yelp sound at the beginning of this song that was Mike Millius and I don't know what happened but Beck heard this yelp and it inspired everything else that came out on this track."
  • This also samples drums from the Edgar Winter Group's "When It Comes" (1972).
  • Beck repeats the album title, usually cited as the phonetic rendering of the Mexican slang "órale," throughout the outro. The expression can be used as a simple greeting or an agreement that something is cool/impressive. Indie rocker Stephen Malkmus, however, claims Beck called the album Odelay "because it was taking so long to come out. Seriously. That's why he called it that," he told Spin magazine.

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