There’s something about the summer that makes me moody. For that reason, I’ve been listening to a lot of “deep” music lately, or at least music that attempts to be deep. Eventually, it gets tiresome to hear affected poets grasping at straws to make their longwinded similes function with musical backing. Sometimes, pop music is too complicated for its own good, or capabilities.
In contrast, Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast doesn’t write deep lyrics. She pens one-sided conversations about heartbreak, happiness, and laziness in straightforward American youth prose. A sample from ‘Bratty B’: “I wanna see you, but I know I can’t / ‘cause you’re not home, you’re never home / I can’t remember why you left and why you took back all your stuff.” No extended metaphors, no literary devices, no choruses with more than 20 words in total, no rhymes in this example, even. And that’s what makes it so great.
The feminist in me wants to deride the simplicity of the lyrics; surely, us females think about more complex topics than how boys make us unhappy sometimes and happy at others. Also, there is repetitive use of crazy/lazy and friend/end to rhyme. But on ‘Goodbye’, Cosentino sums up adolescent confusion and dependent love: “My highs are high / my lows are low / and I don’t know which way to go / I don’t love you / and I don’t hate you / I don’t know how I feel.” It may not be cleverly expressed, but her words are so blunt that they are relatable. Her simplistic words speak to the Twitter masses. Maybe that makes her the Mark Twain of Generation Y? That’s certainly taking it too far, but it just goes to show, lyricists: if you don’t have much to say, don’t try to make it flowery. Say it, then go smoke some pot and chill with your cat.
Either way, Best Coast’s debut album Crazy for You feels like a low fidelity production of the ’60s girl group sound. The band weaves dreamy feminine harmonies (all Cosentino’s multi-tracked vocals), simple melodies, and accessible lyrics with a bit of fuzzy guitar. Crazy for You strays slightly from earlier singles (Make You Mine, Where the Boys Are, Something in the Way) with brighter, crisper vocals and a higher fidelity overall. I miss the lo-fi dreaminess of Where the Boys Are, but blissfully maintained is the beach-ready vibe. For example, ‘I Want To’ ends in such a crescendo of fun, it seems like a thematic crossover from a break up to a surf party. So, in the fashion that light and refreshing ales with photos of beaches on the labels are named summer beers, this album is a summer album. There’s something about the summer.
Tags: Best Coast