Ever been a Californian girl, stoned out of your mind, pining away for that guy you can't have, that guy who just wants to be friends, that guy who's always off on tour? Bethany Cosentino, the Los Angelino dame behind beachy grunge-pop project Best Coast, has. Again and again, if we're to go by her debut disc.
The sparkling Crazy for You takes such pining and kicks it into gear, coming loaded with tunes —writ in glorious major-chords, robust harmonies, and singalong choruses— that are studies in such suffering.
Like the girl-group sound's "tears set to an upbeat," Cosentino writes relentlessly sunny songs celebrating sadness. "There's something about the summer/that makes me moody" she sings, again and again, in "Summer Mood"; undercutting the cut's one-finger piano and vocal harmonies and dappled handclaps with a bummer note of realism. Elsewhere, on "Bratty B", she makes a jaunty jam that doubles as a song-long apology, Cosentino apologising for the brattiness that other artists would try and make a virtue of.
Bethany's Blue Period
The themes rarely vary throughout —though the raucous 105 seconds of "Happy" aren't, if we're to go by the "you make me happy" refrain, ironically titled— and there's very little lyrical fat. These are old-fashioned pop-songs; Cosentino a self-professed student of The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, and Connie Francis.
Best Coast may've earnt a hipster-friendly, lo-fi-fuzzy reputation through a series of 7"s for tiny punk labels, but all the tape-hiss in the world never disguised the hooks lurking on those early joints, never made "That's The Way Boys Are" or "When I'm With You" anything less than pop-songs pure, true, and timeless.
Such a run of awesome tunes (and the obligatory blog buzz) ratcheted up anticipation for Cosentino's longplaying debut, and Crazy for You doesn't fail to deliver. Rather than leaning on past, proven songs, the LP ventures out into a pile of new tunes: 12 songs united in their thematic singularity.
Riding the Wavve
"I wish he was my boyfriend," Cosentino carols, on opening, and across its cracking 29 minutes things don't vary. "There's nothing worse than sitting all alone at home/...waiting by the phone," she sings, before the very next song —the spectacularly melodic, colossally awesome title-track— revisits the very same image: "I'm always waiting by the phone/I'm always waiting for you to get home."
The guy in question is clearly BFF-turned-BF, Nathan Williams of Wavves; something made clear not just by the in-public affection of their back-and-forth Twitter messages, but when Cosentino yells, at the peak of "I Want To"'s cresting wall-of-sound wave, “Go Wavves!"
"I Want To" is, in many ways, the album's purest thematic work, consisting entirely of the lines "I want you so much" and "I miss you so much," on repeat, for the first two minutes, before jumping from half-time to double-time and finding Cosentino hoping to go back to the moment they met. It's another of the album's eternal, universal pop-songs, affixed to no time and place, no boy and girl.
The hyper-awareness of the information-saturated internet era may make us aware of who the boy in question really is, but the context is unnecessary; and, in many ways, a detriment. Long after Best Coast has fallen from the queen of blog-buzz, long after the inevitable backlash, long after lo-fi-beach-jams have had their day in the sun, long after she and Williams have broken up, even, these songs will still be standing. Loud, proud, and fun to sing along to in the car to. Classic Californian pop for lovelorned ladies of any climate, at any time, from now 'til the forever.
Record Label: Mexican Summer
Release Date: July 27, 2010