Best Coast is divisive. She (Bethany Cosentino, not the cat’s mother, but more on that later) writes short, catchy, reverb-soaked pop songs. That’s what it says in the Dancing About Architecture handbook under Best Coast – What To Actually Say About Her Music. But some people think she’s the purest manifestation of hype as a negative force. She’s going out with Nathan Williams from Wavves, who many thought to be the purest manifestation of hype as a negative force in the 2009 hype cycle. She can barely play the guitar, and her lyric-writing is simplistic to the point of absurdity. Tests are still ongoing, but preliminary results reveal that the word crazy is rhymed with the word lazy around 500 times over the course of Crazy For You, and the old miss you-kiss you pairing is not far behind. She tweets, too, primarily about weed. It’s not the world’s most surprising thing that some people find her annoying.
But sometimes you just have to suck it up, despite yourself. The first four songs on Crazy For You are about as unassailably brilliant as any guitar pop in the last decade. Plus, like most nutcases, she gets more fascinating the more you pay attention. The songs are about loneliness, mostly. But the lyrics take left turns into batshit just about enough to make the crazy-lazy stuff seem a little profound: “Nothing makes me happy, not even TV or a bunch of weed” as if TV and weed were the pinnacle of happiness-pursuit in this century. Or how about “I lost my job, I miss my mom, I wish my cat could talk”? Well, that’s weed talking, maybe, or just a hardline Cat Person being given a microphone for once.
Her cat’s Snacks, by the way. He’s on the cover of Crazy For You, and the cover of King of the Beach by Wavves too, and he has a Twitter. Attempts to get him to do an interview for the blog have proved fruitless so far.
In a roundabout way I suppose I’m trying to say that I went to see Best Coast at South Street Seaport, which has been responsible for more excellent consecutive Friday nights than anything since I was 14 and watching Jools Holland religiously with popcorn and Coke. The show was good. I was a little late, because I tend to be a little late, but when I arrived, she was half a verse through the best pop song of the year, Boyfriend. It could very well be the anti-Single Ladies. The song ends and Bethany – Nate Wavves’ girlfriend, Twitter stoner, HRO feud-starter, public persona – mops up. Literally. “Man it is hot.”
Human after all. She tells us her album is out, and tells us to buy it, download it or not get it all, whichever we like. She plays more songs. She dries herself with a towel. People shout that they love her, an occupational hazard presumably. “Thanks you guys. Hey, who wants this towel?” Some scattered but scarily enthusiastic cheers. “Ew, gross, guys.”
I’m not saying I would have taken Bethany Cosentino’s sweat towel, but as she walked off with last year’s right-so-this-album-is-going-to-be-pretty-fucking-good-when-it’s-done 7″ When I’m With You still resonating around the port, it would have been pretty hard to tell me she was anything but a genius. This is what a couple of years of reclaiming pop via no-fi, lo-fi and Wavves-wave has left us with. Listenable, accessible pieces of retro pop that squat in your brain and stay there so long they claim that they owned it to begin with.
There was also, by the way, more people there for Best Coast than anyone else who’s played so far this summer. Free Energy, following her (criminal line-upping there, powers-that-be), took a good shot, but if you hear the new indie pop, you don’t want to hear 2005’s version and besides, lightning struck about halfway through their set, and that was the end of that.