2. Best Coast – Crazy For You [US]
Just like previous years in this tortuously dragged-out end of year list project, I am pretty sure the albums at the top are the ones I think are best, but there’s every chance that that’s just because real life memories and associations have bled into the songs and give them more direct access to various emotions. I was against this sort of thing (affective fallacy, I believe) for about three weeks in first year of college, but now I don’t care. You can’t fight it. You have to live in the world, and you will generally end up listening to music while you’re worried about something, happy about something or walking down a street on a night you have no real reason to remember with cowing nostalgia.
This album leaked while I was in New York for three months, living with three friends in a basically unfurnished apartment with a constantly blocked toilet, no cooking facilities, only one single bed and a wide variety of carpet and wall stains that dated most likely to whichever antecedent wrote his phone book on the wall in permanent marker.. It was established pretty early on in that period of floor-sleeping, beer drinking and non-eating that it was probably going to ‘the best summer of our lives’. It’s strange to actually try to live a whole summer as if you’re trying to gather footage for the best possible montage at the end of it, but that’s basically what happened.
So Boyfriend reminds me of the South Street Seaport and the sound of Best Coast starting to actually play Boyfriend carrying as I moved as quickly as I could towards them up John Street without flooding the entire city with my sweat. The End reminds me of walking around the Lower East Side in the morning, past the boho stuff and on to the bulk supermarkets and project buildings and stuff. Goodbye reminds me of leaving my friends’ apartment on the Upper West Side at around midnight and deciding to walk about thirty blocks south before getting the A back to Brooklyn, seeing as I had nothing else to do in the foreseeable future. Summer Mood reminds me of coming home.
The whole thing’s poisoned with these specific memories, and obviously just with general nostalgia. But that’s what Best Coast is for. The reverb’s there, over everything, the musical equivalent of sepia. The evening sun’s on the cover and in the tinges of dusk sadness in the chords of stuff like Our Deal. The lyrics are simple and broad. I love you. I miss you. I am sad. I am mad at you. You’re not going to have a revelation of self listening to the inside of Bethany Cosentino’s brain, but because it’s so simple, it’s difficult not to relate. Smoking weed helps too, in that regard, but my guess is it’s not necessary.
Sometimes the world view’s so narrow it’s legitimately funny. “I lost my job, I miss my mom, I wish my cat could talk.” “And nothing makes me happy, not even TV or a bunch of weed.” “I pick up the phone, I want to talk, about my day, it really sucked.” But it’s the tone of voice, the candour, the simple arrangements under them, that make it so endearing. It’s like a snot-nosed Gen X kid doing an early Motown covers album in her garage with a book of basic chords and a friend who has pretty much just learned the drums because the string instruments have been bagsied.
Internet Bethany seems annoying. But you can unfollow. You can’t escape from the fact that the first few chords in a song can change your entire mood for half an hour. Coincidence gave me the chance to get to know this album when it was sunny and I had nothing to do but walk around new parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan and bop to music that seemed like it would be good to walk around to. I’m pretty confident I’d be a big fan anyway – the singles that came out before Crazy For You got pretty heavy play. And, y’know, my highs are high, my lows are low. But the way it did happen will make sure both the songs and, in that weird way that songs connect to specific irrelevant snapshots of time, the memories too are permanently embedded in my normally fairly what-have-you-done-for-me-lately brain.