Best Coast: The Only Place

    For all the riot grrrl movement accomplished, indie-rock is still mostly a boys club. There may be a seemingly never-ending supply of talented female artists and female-fronted bands — Grimes, Feist, St. Vincent and Tune-Yards, to name a few — but they’re often just seen as novelties, constantly being heralded as “woman who rock!” and thrown on objectifying lists like “The Hottest Women Of Indie-Rock.”

    Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast understands this. A major part of the appeal of Best Coast’s debut Crazy For You was its tongue-in-cheek twist on the girl group tradition — combining adolescent, Shangri-Las-like lyrics with a Blink-182 attitude — all while hitting the right balance of sincerity and self-awareness. And though detractors pointed out how much the lyrics were male-dependent, there’s a confidence to Cosentino’s belt that makes her anything but a helpless cat lady. 

    Most of that hasn’t changed on Best Coast’s sophomore effort The Only Place. On tracks like “Why I Cry,” the band matches confessional lyrics that detail the inexplicable whims of depression with a more mid-tempo version of the sunshiney garage rock that made Crazy For You so popular. Meanwhile, opener “The Only Place” is a refreshing start, with the singer crooning about California in lyrics strongly evocative of the lives of this generation’s Golden State kids (“We were born with the sun in our teeth and in our hair / We like to sit around, sit around and stare”). 

    But after that, it’s clear that Cosentino has taken a turn for the serious. Opting for slower, country-tinged arrangements this time around (with the help of producer Jon Brion), she’s ditched the weed references for the most vulnerable pages of her diary, almost like an indie-rock version of Taylor Swift.  

    The basic Best Coast formula is still there: an indie-rock twist on an old-school, female-driven genre — only this time Cosentino has opted to embrace Loretta Lynn over Ronnie Spector, allowing herself to revel more in the pathos she once covered up with jokes about her cat. It’s a commendable effort, though ultimately, not entirely compelling either. (6/10)

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $5000
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $5000
    Contributed
    Our Goal