Best Coast – Crazy for You

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

It’s hard to say what I like the most about Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. I think she has a good sense of humor, she writes effective melodies, her friendship with Bobb Bruno is heartwarming, and she was once in a Little Caesar’s commercial. I think, in the end, what I prize highest is what you could easily (and fairly) call out as the weakest part of her game:  her lyrics. They are undeniably simplistic, but their directness and lack of guile highlight the sincerity and authenticity of her songs. Maybe it’s an act, and if so then more power to her, but I believe (and believe in) these songs, and that’s because of Cosentino’s plainspoken lyrics.

What I Think of This Album

This is music about being young and hurting. Or being old and hurting. Hurt doesn’t care how old you are, but, fortunately, neither does music. Heartache and loneliness and despair are timeless, and those are the things Bethany Cosentino writes and sings about, and she does it in a way that is similarly enduring. There is a direct line to her work from early ‘60s girl groups, except Cosentino sings a lot more about weed. Her pain and desperation are palpable. Amiable mystery man Bomb Bruno is there, like any good friend, to support her (on guitar, bass, drums), doing the best he can. Together, they make a fine racket. And if the lyrics are a bit jejune, well, that’s okay. These are songs about feelings, and sometimes you need to say shit in the plainest way possible, and even that can be a struggle when all you want to do is die. That said, Cosentino is capable of taking these songs in unexpected directions.

“Boyfriend” relies on the lyric “I wish he was my boyfriend” but this is not the simple song of longing it appears to be, as Cosentino also shares “The other girl is not like me/ She’s prettier and skinnier / She has a college degree / I dropped out when I was seventeen.” The title track skips along on Cosentino’s backing “oooh oooh ooohs” and she considers “maybe I’m just crazy.” Same, girl, same. “The End” follows the blueprint of vocals coated in reverb and echo, distorted guitars, tom-heavy drum patterns, and lyrics about being so heartbroken you can’t get off the couch, all set to ‘60s melodies. “Goodbye” offers up the delightful nugget “I wish my cat could talk.” “Our Deal” has a wonderful melody and heavenly backing vocals. Cosentino has a powerful but not overwhelming voice, and she can ably handle these songs, expertly balancing emotion and anhedonia, and her own backing vocals are a highlight. “I Want To” is, like so many of these songs, direct and affecting, and then surprisingly kicks into high gear for the outro. Bonus track “When I’m With You” is bright and cheery, which is a pleasant surprise (even if the end suggest it’s just a fantasy). “Bratty B” is another winner, with Cosentino desperately trying to find a reason why her man is gone and how she can get him back (“I’m sorry I lost / Your favorite t-shirt / I’ll buy you a new one / A better one”), and not even a sunny California day can help. Darkness similarly pervades “Each and Everyday,” in which Cosentino intones “you will never fall in love” over and over again. Well, I fall in love with music, so I guess she’s wrong.

The Best Thing About This Album

A really tough call. Probably “Our Deal” for its vocals.

Release Date

July, 2010

The Cover Art

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the cat, I’d say this was a really good cover. I love the postcard lettering (very Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.), and the obvious California signaling. But the story is that all Cosentino demanded of the cover art was that it show her cat, Snacks, though I guess she was satisfied with it showing just  ⅔ of her cat. I’m glad she got what she wanted; it seems like she needed a win.

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