Bethany Cosantino of Best Coast has a message for you: leaving California is a bad idea! She learned this the hard way when she packed her bags and made a pilgrimage to the hipster Mecca that is Brooklyn. The lights and noise of New York distracted her for some time, but it wasn't too long before the laid-back, sun-flecked lifestyle of the west drew her back to the beaches and parks of California. And thus, on a foundation of nostalgia for fun in the sun, Best Coast was born.
Along with Bobb Bruno, Bethany has been releasing one summer jam after another for the past couple of months and the buzz has been gathering into quite a gnarly wave. So it's no surprise that, when she oohs and aahs over fuzzy guitar chords, it sounds like she's hanging ten on a surfboard, high on sunshine. With all the stress of collapsed economies, broken oil wells, and constantly warring factions, Best Coast's breath of fresh air couldn't have breezed in at a better time.
Check out the highly entertaining video for "When I'm with You," in which Bethany goes on a date with a Ronald McDonald impostor and takes him to In N Out!
As the album title suggests, Bethany's lyrics explore love as a form of insanity, a gradual descent into madness over the one you can't have or the one you can't believe you do have. This mentality, or mental disorder, is perfectly paired with the simplicity of a '60s girl group aesthetic, a spunky delivery reminiscent of Exile in Guyville era Liz Phair, and the love-sickness found in a teenage girl's locked diary. All 13 songs on Crazy for You follow the same pattern of a yearning that flits between being supremely earnest and unapologetically tongue-in-cheek; each track shares a new confession, a new quip.
Crazy for You doesn't waste any time winning you over. "Boyfriend," an uber cute, traditional pop song, paints the scene of a house-ridden Bethany longing by the phone. "I wish he was my boyfriend," she repeats like a mantra, in an attempt to make it so. It's the same simple declaration of desire that can be found on, say, Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me," but what sets Best Coast apart from standard teenage girl fare is Bethany's charisma and sense of humor. Consider exhibit A: "The other girl is not like me/ She's prettier and skinnier/ She has a college degree/ I dropped out when I was seventeen." And that's why it's hard not to love Bethany and her music; she's honest and real, the kind of girl who knows her faults and wears them like jewelry.
On "Crazy for You," Bethany experiences new problems now that she's bagged a boy. "I want to kill you, but then I'd miss you," she croons, raising concern and an isn't-that-sweet? simultaneously. She quickly goes back to pining away on the couch on "Goodbye," one of the album's standouts. "Every time you leave this house, everything falls apart," she declares. Uh oh, this sounds serious, you think, until she lightens the mood in her signature style: "I lost my job/ I miss my mom/ I wish my cat could talk" (me too!). How could any guy not want to love and be loved by this girl? She's hilarious, fun, and, as she proves on "Bratty B," considerate: "I'm sorry I lost your favorite t-shirt, I'll buy you a new one, a better one."
So I clearly have a crush on this girl (and you will too), but I'll admit that some of the songs ("Honey," "Happy") and certain sentiments expressed on Crazy for You can be redundant and overly juvenile. But, then again, isn't that what summer is all about: not acting your age, indulging in sloth and lust, and repeating the same great mistakes? Just like summer, this fleeting set of surf-pop gems is over far too soon, before your beach towel is even dry. But you'll be back to bury yourself in the sand and in these blissful sounds before you know it.
Crazy for You is out now. Go get it!