What to Do Tonight: Best Coast

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Fun in the sun -- relatively speaking, of course
  • Fun in the sun — relatively speaking, of course

When you listen to Best Coast’s debut album, Crazy for You, you’re hearing singer Bethany Cosentino’s life. Piles of reverb coat the Los Angeles native’s songs about love, longing, and regret. There’s also occasional giddiness thrown in there for good measure. Surf-pop guitars brush over her insecurities, while Bobb Bruno’s scuzzy bass lines blare beneath it all.

Crazy for You is one of the most direct and honest albums of the year, laying out the life of a 23-year-old woman making her way through the best and worst of uncertain times. She deals with present-day concerns by looking back on a simpler part of her life. But Cosentino doesn’t hide from her anxieties; instead, she proudly shares her emotions with anyone who wants to listen.

Not so surprisingly, many of Cosentino’s mixed-up feelings have to do with boys — the ones she loves, the ones she longs for, the ones who left her behind, and the ones who’ll break her heart. “You’re the one for me/You make me happy” she sings in the garage rocker “Happy.” Twenty seconds later, in the next song, she’s pleading, “I just wish that you would tell me/Is this real, or are we through?”

But Cosentino also sings about her cat, weed, and fighting laziness. Throughout Crazy for You, her voice — a mix of sweetness and rebellion — makes her lyrics sound painfully real. In “When I’m With You,” she repeats “When I’m with you I have fun” more than 20 times. It’s as straightforward as a Ke$ha song, encouraging fans to sing along. But it also prompts them to look back at their own crushes.

“The reason I write such simple lyrics is because I want them to be relatable to people,” says Cosentino. “I don’t have anything against metaphor, poetics, and fancy-schmancy language. I could easily write a song that’s really obscure, and nobody would understand the references, and they would have to sit there and try to figure out what it means.”

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