[#8-12 on this countdown are basically tied. I’ve put them in order of release date.]
I have moved this album up and down on my list so many times it was starting to get a little ridiculous. That’s because on the one hand, these songs are fairly simplistic, don’t stray far melodically, and have pretty superficial lyrics. On the other hand, I CANNOT STOP LISTENING TO THEM. Despite the songs’ simplicity (or maybe because of it), Bethany Cosentino has somehow managed to nail the earworm factor squarely on the head. And it’s so wonderfully attuned to the California coast that it was a big part of my summer’s soundtrack.
Best Coast is kind of the darling of the LA indie music scene right now (especially in concert with her boyfriend, Nathan Williams of Wavves). So much so that I’ve seen numerous comparisons between Bethany and Jenny Lewis, who along with her band Rilo Kiley was the toast of LA five years ago. She’s not nearly as nuanced lyrically as Jenny, but I can’t deny that her almost manically upbeat songs about unrequited love and happy relationships strike a chord somehow.
This album comes after a year or more of singles and brief EPs that were nonetheless touted constantly by the music blogs, and already in that time, the band’s sound has gotten cleaner and stronger while still retaining its ’60s pop vibe and noise pop aesthetic. I’m really curious to see where she goes from here. Honestly, the only thing I could really wish for is a bit more thought put into the lyrics, but it’s possible that their directness is an intentional part of the style. It certainly seems to be working for her – the album has hit most of the Best Of lists I’ve seen this year.