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Best Coast Isn't At Their Best On "The Only Place"

Emily Wilson |
May 8, 2012 | 11:13 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Via Wikimedia
Via Wikimedia
There’s a big bear hugging California on the album cover. And the chorus on the title track goes like this: “Why would you live anywhere else? We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, we’ve got the waves. This is the only place for me.”

It’s certainly no question which coast Best Coast considers the best coast. It’s the west coast. Specifically, it’s California, the duo’s home state, which is so very beloved.

And that love hasn’t declined from the first album to this second effort, although other things have certainly changed 

On the soon to be released sophomore album “Only Place To Be” (May 15), Los Angeles-based frontwoman Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno deliver a short album, clocking in at just over 34 minutes.

The production value is very obviously higher this time around, as Cosentino’s voice soars at the front instead of blending into the background of a deliberately lo-fi sound. The songs are sharper and her voice is more confident, comfortable and seasoned, but the lyrics on many of the twelve tracks display a growing and rather pervasive discontent.

Not with California, but with success and direction and relationships and life in general.

On “Better Girl,” there’s competition between a relaxed beachy summer sound and the anxiety-ridden lyrics when Cosentino sings “I wake up to the morning sun, when did my life stop being so fun?” adding, “It’s no fun when I’m always alone, it’s no fun when I’m always at home.”

While darker in many spots, the lyrics are still simply to the point—perhaps to a fault at times, occasionally coming off as lazy. Within the more light-hearted framework of the first album, those simple lyrics came across as cute and charming. 

While the rhymes can still induce such admirable feelings on “Only Place to Be,” certain songs, like “Why I Cry” contain lyrics such as “Look to the future, nothing’s there, don’t know why I even care. Walk around in a haze, seems to be the way I spend my days.” After a while, it all starts to sound like scattered tidbits from a sad adolescent’s diary.

Which is perhaps what Best Coast was shooting for in theme—a simple, almost regressive look at life and relationships. If so, way to go band, you did it! But with a polished sound, polished lyrics might also be expected from listeners. 

The album is good, but maybe just not as good as fans will expect.

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