Best Coast puts me in a good place, even though they play almost exclusively sad music. Reigning Queen of Upbeat Beach Songs with Downer Lyrics Bethany Cosentino teamed up again with musician Bobb Bruno for California Nights. The album came out May 5 and follows up 2012’s The Only Place and 2013’s Fade Away with more energetic songs about medicating depression.
“Feeling Ok” kicks off the album in a big way. Seldom before have I heard such an upbeat melody showcasing lines like, “When I get down, so I get so down/But I’ll keep trying to stay this way.” This leads effortlessly into the album’s second track, “Fine Without You,” which features Costentino offering advice on moving on from a failed relationship. These themes carry on throughout the album.
Mid-album track, “When Will I Change,” speaks of discontent in the face of having a lot to be thankful for. “It’s not that I want more/It’s just that I want what I had before,” Costentino sings, after admitting she has no reason to feel as sad as she does.
Usually Best Coast’s albums have a handful slower-tempo ballads, but California Nights stays strong and fast-paced from start to finish — I’m sure I’ll be listening to it on a road trip this summer. Aside from the closing track, “Wasted Time,” the closest the album comes to a slow jam is the title song. It’s one touching on self-doubt: “I take the way I’ve known, but have I really grown?”
- “Fading Fast”
- “Feeling Okay”
- “Sleep Won’t Ever Come”
Chicagoans can see Best Coast live next month at the Taste of Randolph, June 19-21. Each day’s cost is only a $10 donation, although three-day VIP tickets are also available for $100.