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MAX’S MUSIC BOX: Surf-pop duo Best Coast’s album fails to take a new direction

After gaining popularity from their first single “Crazy For You,” Best Coast has been consistently releasing catchy garage-pop since the band’s inception in 2009. The duo, comprised of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno, released the EP Fade Away only a year after their studio album “The Only Place.” Fade Away isn’t groundbreaking, and there’s hardly anything new for the band. However, it may keep fans satisfied, as some of the tracks shine through the overall mediocrity of the EP.


1.     “This Lonely Morning” is catchy, but it’s full of contradictions that hinder the song’s meaning. The track is lyrically simple with the three word chorus “this lonely morning.” Cosentino paints a picture of a boyfriend who’s distant; he doesn’t return her calls, and he leaves her lonely in the morning. And while simplicity is often enjoyable, the song falls short. The instrumentation is playful, giddy and summery, while she complains about her distant, under-attached boyfriend. And while the song is completely devoid of meaning, it’s still Best Coast. It’s bound to get stuck in someone’s head. (6.5 pts. out of 10)


2.     “I Wanna Know” is the classic, overdone break-up song. Cosentino relishes the good times of the relationship whilst saying goodbye to her lover. Again, the song is catchy. The guitar hooks and beachy sound keep it entertaining. But lyrically there’s nothing here. (6.5/10)


3.    “Who Have I Become?” sounds like it could be on Taylor Swift’s new album. There’s nothing new here. The overdone lyrics concerning a “bad” boyfriend and an identity crisis could’ve been pasted from any love song from the past 30 years. And, strangely, Cosentino sounds a bit like Swift here too. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (6/10)


4.    “Fear of My Identity” continues with the “bad” boyfriend theme with lyrics like, “the hate is getting darker/the pain is getting stronger.” While at least Cosentino is consistent, the song sounds like all of the others on the album. It’s not musically sophisticated, and it doesn’t need to be. But, there’s no substance at all. All that remains is a few catchy guitar hooks and a pretty good voice. (6/10)


5.     “Fade Away” stands out, in that all of the musical elements work together. Cosentino tries her hand at a ballad, and it works well. The tone of her voice, the slower tempo and the climax leading to the chorus actually coincide with the lyrics. Throughout the track, there’s a solemn longing that’s almost made palpable with the help of the more melancholy instrumentation. It’s unfortunate that Best Coast doesn’t follow this formula more often. (8/10)


6.     “Baby I’m Crying” is demonstrative of Best Coast’s true potential. While there are parts of the song dedicated to the failed relationship, the song mostly concerns Cosentino’s identity crisis. “I don’t know who I am this year/my feelings are nothing but fear.” The unique lyrics are refreshing, and remind me that Best Coast is capable of crafting a good song. And the swaying sadness that accompanies her voice makes the song even better. (8.5/10)


7.     “I Don’t Know How” sounds like a ballad taken from a pop-country band. Again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I quite like some parts of the song. The song’s meaning is unified through the instrumentation and lyrics. And even when the song picks up in tempo, it still remains a sad song. My one complaint is that it sticks to the overdone break-up motif. The song isn’t groundbreaking, but at least it’s consistent. (8/10)


Overall Rating: (7 pts. out of 10)



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