Today I am extremely grateful for the existence and presence of Best Coast in my life. In a way, I feel like I owe the band a lot of thanks. For example, I am thankful for Crazy For You because it’s a debut album that completely stood out against the rest of the lo-fi/indie-pop trend that was very prominent. It was the simplicity of Bethany Cosentino’s lyrics and her “fuck what you think” attitude that helped 21-year-old me make better decisions. Like how I was behaving and who I was hanging out with.
Crazy For You was also something I could blast during a messy break-up in 2011. Various issues such as heartbreak, being emotionally overwhelmed over a boy (or a girl) crush, and the complete ennui over your current situation were not sugar coated. Best Coast has always felt like a friend dealing with a very similar reality rather than just a band I was into. Despite having never met Bethany or Bobb Bruno, I feel like Best Coast has, and always will, “get me” (is that creepy?). So for that, I thank Best Coast.
I am also thankful for The Only Place, which was released during a time when I was so self-involved and hell-bent on “becoming something” that it was easily overlooked for not being great (but definitely not terrible). I still don’t know who or what I was trying to become in 2012, but I think anyone’s early-20s are a confusing time. It’s why today, I can say I am extremely grateful for the band’s latest effort, California Nights. It sounds nothing like the other records they’ve put out so far but it’s still, undeniably, a Best Coast album – one that uses Bethany’s crystal clear vocals and simple wit and charm to make sure a bundle of melodies stay glued to your head.
What I am most thankful for, though, is how much Bethany and Bobb have grown. Like most of the population (at least I would hope), I have started to grow tired of the lo-fi/indie-pop movement and it’s been exciting to to see the band replace their buzzed-out, sometimes jangly-country sound with various power-riffs that are strong, impressive and reminiscent of the ’90s. The basic foundation of a Best Coast album is still there on California Nights, but it’s different, and so are the themes behind it. More so than ever, Bethany reassures me that being a little crazy (or a lot crazy) over a shitty boy situation is still okay, but also that I will be fine without him.
It’s hard not to be grateful for a new album that’s so easy to sing along to, but California also goes on to satisfy any nostalgia I had for Best Coast’s earlier years by embracing all of their lesser-known musical influences. The group has seen their share of record labels, endless tour cycles, and unexpected ups and downs, and yet Bethany continues to outdo herself – whether it’s as a great source of inspiration or as a strong female lead that can offer insight into the deeper issues women face.
I know how popular Best Coast is and how most of their fan base has adored them since the beginning. I know how prominent a debut record can be in someone’s life. I also know how difficult it can be to watch anything you hold close to your heart grow, especially when it’s not easy to accept change. In the case of California Nights though, embrace this change. Bethany and Bobb did and with it being 2015, I can happily say their new chapter will be replacing Crazy For You this summer.