So I am a massive massive beck fan, and I thought i'd put together a little thing here for anyone who isn't aware of beck and what he does! Beck's style has changed and transformed numerous times over the years, so just listening to 10 songs will not give the full picture. The songs I recommend aren't necessarily his best (there will always be disagreement) but i feel they give a good idea of the incredible variation present in his albums
One Foot in the Grave (94'): low-fi folk See songs: Hollow Log
Mellow Gold ('94): His sort of "breakout album," it is truly unique and it's quite difficult to describe the sound. It has a very 90's/slacker/freak folk sound, with tonnes of genres and instruments mixed throughout See songs: Loser, Fuckin' With my Head
Odelay ('96): Produced by the Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys producer). Beck's songwriting really took a step up with this album, which cleans up the sound of Mellow gold by incorporating more electronics, country rock, and hip-hop elements. This is an absolutely fantastic album front to back. Listen to it. See songs: The New Pollution, Jack-Ass, Where It's At, Sissyneck, Lord Only Knows
Mutations ('98): Produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer). This album represents the next step in the evolution of Beck as a great songwriter. Incorporates numerous genres, but with a general, dropping hip-hop and electronic influences of previous albums and instead adopting a more folk/blues sound. See Songs: Bottle of Blues, Cold Brains, Nobody's Fault but my Own, Tropicalia
Midnight Vultures ('99): Produced with Tony Hoffer (who has worked with Belle and Sebastian (life pursuit), Foster the people, Air (10000hz legend). Completely new direction for Beck, this album uses elements of glam and funk along with hip-hop/electronics/rock. Great album, super fun front to back. See songs: Sexx Laws, Nicotine and Gravy, Pressure Zone, Debra.
Sea Change ('02): Produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead). meow this is my personal favorite; a sonic masterpiece with fantastic songwriting. This album is very folk/country, with dense lush arrangements, and is probably his most cohesive album in terms of consistant sound throughout every song. See songs: the Golden Age, Paper Tiger, Lonesome Tears, Sunday Sun
Guero (05'): Back with Dust Brothers producing, very eclectic sounding album which covers pretty much every major subgenre of pop. See songs: E-pro, Go it Alone, Scarecrow, Black Tambourine
The Information ('06): Back with Nigel Godrich producing. This is another fantastic front to back album, I feel like this is sort of the sound that is really the culmination of everything beck has done up until this point. Back to incorporating hp-hop, electronics with quality songwriting, difficult to describe as a whole in terms of genre. See Songs: Think I'm in Love, Dark Star, Elevator Music, The Information, No Complaints
Modern Guilt ('08): His most recent, produced by Danger Mouse. Very different once again from all previous output, very cohesive sound. This album sounds like it was more of a band effort than a bunch of studio musicians with Beck and a producer. See songs: Gamma Ray, Volcano, Modern Guilt
If I had to pick three albums for people to listen to front-back: Odelay, Sea Change, The Information.
It's been a few years since he released anything, however he's been quite busy on his website with his "record club" project, where he gets together with Nigel and a bunch of musiciens to cover a classic album in 24 hours.
I've never seen him live so I can't really comment from experience, but from everything I've read and heard, its a really mixed bag in terms of setlist, performance quality, band members and energy. That being said, here is a great video from '99, and a performance like this would be fucking awesome! www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDh_hzNh_Vc