Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review: Best Coast - Crazy For You

1. Want (26)
2. End (24)
3. Just (23)
4. Miss (20)
5. Love (19)
6. Ooh (16)
7. La (16)
8. Crazy (16)

Above are the results of processing the Best Coast's lyrics through a word counter. Over 31 minutes and 13 tracks, they are the most prevalent words and a thorough synopsis of the subject matter on "Crazy For You". Every song serves to further gray the line between love balladry and stalker anthem, but by the end I'm reasonably sure I'm terrified of Bethany Cosentino (lead singer/lyricist). 

While the breezy tracks of her early EPs and singles buried her summery voice under fuzz and reverb, the lyrics that you could make out embraced this philosophy, spreading the beach-warmed melodies and simplicity. With "Crazy For You", her voice is cleaner and the production brighter, but the lyrics reflect something deeper beneath the waves. 

Perhaps the most unsettling part of the album is that it's nearly impossible to tell who she is pining for. Like a lustful teenager, the songs find her caterwauling "All I do is think about you all of the time" and "Every time you leave this house, everything falls apart", painting scenes of her as Betty Draper, thoroughly helpless and counting the minutes until her husband walks in the door and her world can begin to spin again. Other songs have her conceding "Maybe I'm just crazy" and "I want to kill you but I'd miss you", casting a Kathy-Bates-in-Misery shaped cloud over everything and you begin to wonder if the subject of these songs even exists. 

It would be easy to dismiss on these accounts, but the lyrics notwithstanding, there is some really great Beach Boy channeling going on here. Lead single "Boyfriend" bolsters a wholesome love song with charming background Ooh's and Aah's and a guitar riff that would make Dick Dale proud. Likewise, "Bratty B" finds Cosentino finding her inner girl-group, with a chorus that begs for hand claps and hip-swaying. Despite an exceedingly simple formula, Best Coast spans several genres, not afraid to go to darker places or slow things down when the song calls for it.
Truth be told, the album as a whole is light enough and catchy enough to overlook the disconcerting parts and enjoy the album for what it is; a collection of love letters fed through a Motown-era reverb machine. I just hope her boyfriend can finagle a spot in the witness protection program should he ever decide pull the plug. 

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