Winning melodies, vivid choruses, memorable hooks and lyrics to make your heart hiccup.
Stevie Chick 2010-07-28
Much of the abundant charm of Crazy for You, the debut album from LA trio Best Coast, lies in its nostalgic sense of innocence. Awash with summery haze and glorious harmonies, and dulcet soft-pop melodies that evoke the dreamy confections of the Brill Building girl group era, Bethany Cosentino pens songs that essay love and all its attendant anguishes in the language of True Romance comics, in words scrawled by heart-broken teenagers on postcards to their best friends, with a seeming belief that all heartaches can somehow be resolved with a handful of verses and a chorus that makes your heart hiccup.
Best Coast’s genius twist lies in lending these songs a contemporary sheen – updating her golden 60s pop with lo-fi, chillwave fuzz and references to weed – and a conviction (like the way Cosentino’s voice breaks when singing “I wonder if he knows that I want him?” on opener Boyfriend) that suggests her lyrics are something more than mere pastiche. The End’s tale of wanting your best friend to be your boyfriend is a plot stolen from the pages of an Archie comic, but the way Cosentino sings “You say that we’re just friends / But I want this ‘til the end” sweeps the listener up with the emotional rush of all great pop.
Its unlikely that Cosentino’s lyrical conceits would affect the way they do if they weren’t coupled with such winning melodies, such vivid choruses, such memorable hooks (like Summer Mood’s delectable, double-edged “There’s something about the summer” refrain, or the dovetailing harmonies that close Our Deal). Her Spector-esque pop reaches its most ersatz on I Want To, with an intro echoing both Be My Baby and The Leader of the Pack, but the pang of longing that runs through her repeated croon of “I want you so much” melts away such trainspotterism.
On I Want To, Cosentino sings “I want to go back to / The first time, the first place”; by Each And Every Day, she’s wishing she could go back “to when I was 17”. Best Coast’s music wishes for that innocence – for when a pop song could sum up your whole torment in three perfect minutes, before your heart truly gets broken that first time – and successfully evokes it with Crazy for You’s immediate classic-pop hits.
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