Best Coast dropped their third full-length album, “California Nights” on May 4 with an interesting twist to their original style. It may be a little too moody for a beach bonfire, but it’s perfect for driving down the coast at night, which the title of the album suggests.
Opening track “Feeling Ok” sounded the usual Best Coast musical fare, but track two, “Fine Without You” strayed from their standard upbeat beach pop and adds a bit of a darker tone. It quickly became clear that the band was trying to change things up just enough to sound new, while still be playing it safe.
As we progress through the album, the repetitive lyrics and surf rock guitar in “Heaven Sent” sounded uncannily reminiscent of another popular girl band in the scene, Dum Dum Girls. “In My Eyes” brings comfort to listeners going through the pain of losing someone, while “So Unaware” professes feelings of teenage naiveté with lyrics like, “What is life, what is love? What’s the meaning of it all? Do I even care or is it just that I am so unaware?” Halfway through the album, we listen to Bethany Cosentino sing about growing up in “When Will I Change” with lyrics that declare “The weight of the world crashes down on my shoulders / I’m a big girl now but I don’t feel much older.”
After being taken through repetitive songs about love, growing up, and jealousy, we are finally treated with title track “California Nights” that exudes eerie and existential vibes that profess feelings of feeling so happy one could die. To come down from the high of “California Nights,” we are taken through “Fading Fast,” “Run Through My Head,” and “Sleep Won’t Ever Come,” all slower songs about losing love, missing someone, being left alone, and the feeling of floating through space when you’re on the edge of insomnia.
Finally, the album comes to a close with “Wasted Time.” What, Best Coast? Are you trying to say the past 43 minutes spent listening to this album were a waste of time? But really, the song is a decent closer and it’s refreshing to listen to Cosentino sing about waiting for someone and realizing it was a waste of time.
There are a lot of reviews out there who criticize Best Coast for always sounding the same, but at the end of the day, the girl beach band’s summer vibes will always be comforting to me and I do see them making an attempt to alter their sound. I enjoy consistency and I’m a fan of how they bounce around with country-influences and hazy beach pop and even a little lo-fi here and there. There’s nothing wrong with taking a long time to mature, and that seems to be a recurring theme in their lyrics.
If I were to recommend Best Coast to someone, I would suggest this album as an introduction to their sound. Maybe it’s because it’s the most versatile of their three albums and could easily please a variety of tastes and different moods. Let’s face it; everyone needs a little beach rock in their life. All in all, it’s a crowd pleaser. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be spending my summer enjoying the west coast with Best Coast.