"Morning Phase" was Beck's first album-of-the-year win, but the album was his third nomination for the Grammy top prize since his folk-meets-hip-hop breakout "Odelay" made him a star in the mid-to-late '90s.
Beck was something of an underdog in the category considering that “Morning Phase” had long dropped off the pop charts and was arguably the most down-tempo release of the artist’s career. In winning album of the year, Beck bested pop hit “Beyoncé,” the artist’s surprise late-2013 release, as well as “In the Lonely Hour,” the smashing debut of British soul newcomer
FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards 2015
Beck said at the time of its release that his goal for "Morning Phase" was to strip his songs down to "the most essential, elemental sounds."
"I think we can all accept that acoustic guitar, and a piano, and an upright bass and acoustic drum and strings — they're things that are elemental. I felt like for the songs to have a kind of particular quality, something that feels like it breathes or has a warmth to it, that those would be the most suited," Beck said of the album's instrumentation.
The Times was kind in its review of "Morning Phase," even if critic Mikael Wood wrote that Beck heavily cribbed his own 2002 album "Sea Change." The sound of "Morning Phase" was described as "lighter than air," but the album was ultimately deemed a success thanks to an underlying sense of mystery.
In addition to Smith and Beyoncé, “Morning Phase” bested
And yet the biggest star of 2014 sat out album of the year.