These day I barely get by
I don't even try

from Beck – The Golden Age Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

After the breakup, Beck lapsed into a period of melancholy and introspection, during which he wrote the bleak, acoustic-based tracks later found on Sea Change.

He wrote most of the album’s 12 songs in one week, but then shelved them, he told Time in 2002:

Songs sit in my head for a while…I have dozens in there, songs from eight years ago that I’ve written but never recorded. After a while, I just sort of decide to record them."

Beck also strayed from the songs to keep from talking about his personal life, as well as to focus on music and “not really strew my baggage across the public lobby.” Eventually, however, he found the songs speak to an experience (a relationship breakup) that is common, and that it would not seem self-indulgent to record them.

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