Sometime in 2001 or early 2002, William Orbit travelled to Los Angeles to work with Beck on a track for Orbit’s upcoming album. MTV.com, in an article promoting Sea Change, revealed the song is called “Real Good” and contains “Latiz fuzz guitar over percolating dance beats.”
Beck explained how his collaboration with Orbit worked, “[Orbit] sent over a bunch of ideas he had, I picked one I liked, he came over and I wrote some lyrics, put some guitar on it. We had a couple of nice chats and his process is fairly similar to the way we recorded Odelay, using computers and I was able to improvise for an hour or two and then from that we took from that what the song was. So he’s a builder, an arranger, a composer.”
The song was originally intended for Orbit’s solo album, which was moving at a slow pace. Then the Charlie’s Angels people asked to use the song as a big single for the soundtrack. Coming after Sea Change, this would’ve been a somewhat awkward move, and Beck doesn’t usually do big Hollywood soundtracks like that, so he declined. Orbit then went to work with Pink for the movie. She heard the song, and wanted to cover it. In the end, Beck said OK and now “Feel Good Time” as sung by Pink is the main single for the movie. (It is also on Pink’s 2003 album, Try This.)
It’s the exact same song, just with Pink singing. Beck’s vocals and wild guitar were removed. The main riff of “Feel Good Time” is from the old Spirit song “Fresh Garbage,” which is a very cool tune. I think part of it is an actual sample, while some of it is just a replay of the riff? Or maybe it’s all a sample.
It’s kind of too bad Beck didn’t give his version to Hollywood. It would’ve been a cool way to be subversive, confuse people, as in “why the hell is Beck singing the Charlie’s Angels song?” It also seems somewhat unique to Beck’s own catalogue, as most of his “dance” songs are weird and crazy, not so straightforward (“Sexx Laws” for instance). But alas, I can’t imagine it’s likely we’ll hear the original now.
UPDATE: It’s still probably not gonna be on any Beck album anytime soon, but we do have Beck’s version to listen to now! William Orbit was on a radio show on August 17 2003. While there, he played a number of songs in one 40 minute block, which he called “Superchunk.” It included two “new” versions of “Feel Good Time.” The first had Beck’s original vocals, and some of his fucked-up guitar and effects seem to have been put back. Pink’s vocals are still there in the background, so it’s not exactly the original. But it is close. The ending of the song as heard on Pink’s version is not there though. It is credited to William Orbit featuring Beck.
(The other version on there was also “reworked,” but is just credited to Pink, and I don’t think has Beck.) The track was made available via mp3 on William Orbit’s website.