"Seventh Heaven" was reported first in a preview of Beck's upcoming October 2016 album, which ended up delayed a year before being release as Colors
in October 2017.
Beck has referred to "Seventh Heaven" as about "a man wailing out at his love who has left him." On the other hand, once, before playing the song live in Melbourne in February 2018, Beck said "This is a very feel good song, I'm warning you," which feels a little at odds with the first description. Maybe he was still figuring the song out himself. Regardless, the verses seem to track the story somewhat vaguely. The first verse begins with Beck announcing "I want to see you," and wandering the city. The second verse seems to expressing some brief hope, but it all ends with his love rejecting him on the telephone.
Beck's verses here are a little wordy, and not straight-forward to decipher, but I think that wordiness contrasts quite nicely with the clarity of the chorus (and their gorgeous melodies). Beck says that Colors
is about connecting: "Seventh Heaven" matches that, as it seems to be about an attempt to connect with someone.
The music shimmers, on a very simple bed of funky rhythm and insistent electric guitar. There are some lovely but unobtrusive new age-y cascading details to the song too (ie., the intro).
Also interesting to me is the construction of the song. After the verses, Beck does a pre-chorus ("don't tell nobody I'm here"), the chorus, and a sort of post-chorus ("now you got to let me know"). Also, a bridge follows ("I'm gonna take it with me"). This is a lot of different sections for a song! The beauty is that it never feels collage-like, they flow and fit together.
Still, after the second chorus, Beck decides to stop repeating himself. The bridge is done instrumentally, and instead of connecting to a third verse, it sort of goes into a great new replacement section ("someday there might be something better / you can change your mind but you can't forget her": a terrific couplet). That section leads into a yet another entirely different pre-chorus, where he's singing about the hopefulness of love ("let it rise to the highest high in the satellite sky").
These new sections have great affect on the song: they allow none of the (superb) melodies from overstaying their welcome, and are also just as interesting in their own right. Beck has done experimenting with song construction throughout his career, and here on Colors
, even being seen as a straight-forward pop record by most, he is still providing twists. He is overflowing with ideas, and puts this creativity on display on "Seventh Heaven."
Played live 4 times:
Earliest known live version: October 24, 2017
Latest known live version: June 5, 20182017-2018 Colors tour
Beck played around 59 main shows on the Colors
tour, but alas, only did "Seventh Heaven" at four of them. He has stated in the past that new songs need to settle in fans' consciousness before they feel right to do on stage, and maybe that's what he's letting happen here. That said, the versions of "Seventh Heaven" I have heard all came off quite well. The song was not deconstructed at all; the band playing it fairly straight as you hear it on record. Roger adds some nice glassy synthesizer, and Jason leads it all with cool almost country-ish clean guitar licks. I really hope this gets more of a shot at stage at some point, as it's uplifting melodies would be a blast to experience. We shall see!