This is the first track on Modern Guilt. This is appropriate, because Beck has said that it was the first song he recorded with Danger Mouse. It really pointed the way to the rest of the sessions. Beck explained, “I was working on my record last year, and then I called [Danger Mouse] and said ‘let’s do a song’ and he was really busy and he said he didn’t have time. But we did one song and the song that came out was “Orphans” – the first song on the record. We liked the way it came out. So, he said ‘if I’m going to work on a record with you it’s not going to be one song, it’s going to be a whole record.’”
“Orphans” is one of two songs on the album with Cat Power singing, the other being “Walls.” Beck said when he did the song, he knew he wanted some other voices on there. The harmonies are amazing. Beck talked about working with Cat Power: “We brought her in, and she only had 45 minutes, but she’s one of those singers who just opens her mouth and there’s no work, no affectation.”
Beck plays the flute on this song!
He also included a live-in-the-studio “acoustic” version of this song (and the entire album) on beck.com. “Orphans” does not sound drastically different, at its core it is an acoustic song anyway.
It’s music like this that made me want to play guitar and keeps inspiring me to play and write my own stuff. Thank you Beck.