Wow
by Beck

Songfacts®:

  • Beck dropped this funky cut as the follow-up to his 2015 single "Dreams." When he first came up with the song, Beck didn't see it as a potential release as it came together so quickly. He recalled to NME: "I was working on another song – maybe 'Dreams' – when I had an idea for a flute beat. I picked up the mic and 'Wow' came out totally spontaneously. I put it away and forgot about it. Then 'Wow' was on in the studio one day and someone said 'You should put this on the record.' I went 'I don't think anybody would like this.'

    Usually, I turn in a whole album to my record company when they want a single. But there were a lot of songs in progress, so I sent in a cache of them this time. Nothing happened for months, then suddenly the record company said "We're putting 'Wow' out as a single." I was "Really? 'Wow'? Huh. Well, OK then." 'Wow' was the last song on the cache I'd sent over."
  • When asked about the life affirming lyrics by KROQ's Kevin & Bean, Beck replied: "Most of this song was completely off the top of my head. I didn't write any of it. It was just us fooling around in the studio."
  • Beck suffered a spinal injury in 2008, which left him in a great deal of pain. For several years he was unable to pick up his guitar. However, this song finds him in a happy place. He explained: "I had a spine injury and there was a long period where it wasn't easy to make music. Recovering from that makes it a lot easier. It's made a huge difference."
  • The song has a hip-hop feel and at one time Beck had hoped that Chance The Rapper would spit some rhymes on it.
  • "Wow!" is an exclamation of wonder, often tinged with other emotions such as sorrow, excitement, admiration or pleasure. The word is of Scottish origin and has been attested since the 16th century. Other artists that have recorded songs titled "Wow" include Kate Bush, Kylie Minogue, The Stylistics and Prince.
  • The song contains some nonsensical rhymes:

    Standing on the lawn doin' jiu jitsu
    Girl in a bikini with the Lamborghini shih tzu


    Beck told Q magazine: "That rap was all mostly free-form. Later, I did try and write something that was more finessed, but it didn't have the same energy. So I left Wow as it was."
  • Beck's psych hip-hop anthem was used by Japanese automaker Honda to help "wow" people in a commercial for their 2017 Acura MDX luxury SUV.

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