The Only Place – Best Coast (May 2012)

I was disappointed when reviews of this album made clear that appreciation for Crazy for You ran as deep as its lo-fi aesthetic and pot, because what I loved about that album is laid barer here.  The most important thing is that Bethany’s remained outright juvenile.  Despite getting her start in drone act Pocahaunted, she’s taken on a great reverence for the simplest of song structures, and whereas we might slap our foreheads at one of her many obvious rhymes, you can be sure that she’s just excited to have discovered that “babes” sounds kinda nice alongside “waves,” which goes to show that despite Hipster Runoff coverage of Snacks the Cat, Bethany’s sincerity is her real selling point.  After Jon Brion turns down the volume and Bethany turns down the tempo, we get to hear a pained, gorgeous voice carry simple lyrics written around assorted powerfully-put feelings of lost love that haven’t been done to death: “It’s no fun when what I’m putting inside of me is making me crazier,” “I don’t know what day it is, because I’ve been up all night,” “if I sleep on the floor, will it make you love me more?”  Her youthful heartache matches Adele’s in both despair and obsession but lacks the confidence to get spiteful toward her ex, with the only card held tantalizingly to her chest being her own unspoken misery: “You seem to think you know everything, but you don’t know why I cry.”  By the end of the album, as she dreams of leaving the only place for her for the guy whose memory keeps her awake, she’s surely sad, stuck, and scared–remember when she made pining for guys seem fun and frivolous?–so yes, The Only Place is Bethany’s maturity album.  She’s learning that growing up means getting hurt.

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Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 12:01 AM  Leave a Comment  

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