Best Coast – Crazy For You
The history of pop music is littered with anthems to unrequited love, and with good cause: what thinking, feeling human being hasn’t longed for the wrong person at some stage? Remember the all-consuming desire, the awkwardness, the frustration of it all?
Bethany Cosentino, frontwoman of Best Coast, certainly does. Crazy for You is devoted to the subject; or, more specifically, to the object of her affection. Every track on the album is peppered with lines like “I want you” and “I wish he was my boyfriend”, wrapped up in hazy garage takes on girl-group harmonies.
In other hands, such obsessiveness might cross over into ‘stalker’ territory, but Bethany goes beyond creepy and all the way back to sweet. There’s no whiff of Every Breath You Take here: her infatuation is deeply felt, but expresses itself in a simple, benign way. When Bethany sings, “Nothing makes me happy/not even TV or a bunch of weed” on Goodbye, it isn’t exactly Wordsworth, but the unpretentious honesty makes the line far more touching than any grand analogy could be.
That simplicity translates perfectly to the garage girl-group arrangements. There’s been something of a revival of the girl-group sound of late, with bands like Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls reimagining the sounds of Phil Spector as filtered through lo-fi rock. Best Coast have quickly skipped to the head of this class, managing to recreate not only the flourishes of the era (like the Be My Baby -ish drum part of Our Deal ), but also nailing the pop nous at the heart of songs like He’s So Fine and Chapel of Love. Many of Bethany’s songs could stand beside these classics: the title track in particular is begging for a Chiffons cover, even if it did arrive 50-odd years too late to the party.
To borrow a line from the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, Crazy for You is “stony and adorable”. The ‘stony’ comes through not just in the 45rpm-record-played-at-33 pacing, but also in the sometimes-frustrating lyrics (Beth: the words ‘hazy’ and ‘daisy’ are just some of the other rhymes for ‘crazy’); the ‘adorable’, in the “I wish my cat could talk” sincerity and general lack of artifice. If everyone caught up in a one-sided love affair could put it to such good use as this instead of putting it into Facebook status updates, the world would be better off. At the very least, we’d have some rad tunes to soundtrack those moments of heartache.