Best Coast is back again

Members Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno rock out to the pressures of life and love in another coming-of-age album

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Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast performs in Glasgow.

Courtesy Thardin12

West-coast duo Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno meld the sounds of the ‘80s and ‘50s with their modern surfer-rock aesthetic in Best Coast’s fifth album — “Always Tomorrow.” The project became anticipated after the abrupt drop of the surprise song “For the First Time” in 2019. This release marks an impressive continuation of their tendency to wave the flag of emotionally-charged indie rock, embracing consistency in both instrumentation and theme. “Always Tomorrow” details the choppy timeline of growing up and desperately trying to roll with the punches of everyday life. Contradictions between falling victim to life’s hardships and utilizing the power of positive thinking to overcome them seem to alternate on a song-by-song basis.

The first track on the album — “Different Light” — is a true mix of pop punk and surfer rock in which Cosentino produces Kim Wilde-esque vocals. Similar to a popular classic like “Kids in America,” this song touts the “stick it to the man” empowerment of the young and misunderstood. With its artful simplicity, “Different Light” espouses the angst associated with a leather-wrapped coming of age drama and drips with contempt for the progression of time. Faint musings of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” can be heard in fan-favorite “For The First Time,” continuing the trend of proud ‘80s influence. This track proves to be more empowering than previous tracks on the album and ironically marks the embracing of change rather than denouncing it as the previous song “Everything Has Changed” had so adamantly done. 

Subsequently, Cosentino assumes her position as “queen of the graceless kids” rather than taking her place among them. Themes of loneliness and self-sabotage rooted in the pressures of perfection seem to power the feeling of hopelessness that appears as a strong undercurrent in the entirety of “Always Tomorrow”. “Master of My Own Mind” illustrates the taxing effort of being your own person and straying from the undeserved criticism of others. Accepting the old adage of “it’s always something” augments Cosentino's cynicism while making room for her lyrical resignation to push past the mar of powerless monotony.

The latter half of the album seems to be dominated by a push-and-pull relationship dynamic which proves to be all-consuming in the thoughts of the lyric’s protagonist. “True” makes apparent the influence of ‘50s love ballads on Best Coast’s artistic inspiration. The innocent instrumentation makes one feel inclined to sway side to side in accordance with the guitar’s melodic influence. In their mind’s eye, a listener could easily imagine a polka-dot-clad teen twirling her hair and fawning over her newfound sweetheart. “But now I feel the things I read about in magazines / And now I’ve seen the things I never thought I’d see.” This song fully expresses the freedom which comes with throwing caution to the wind and relinquishing oneself to the powerful feeling of love. 

In the following track, “Seeing Red,” Cosentino breaks the rose-colored trance induced by the previous track with visions of fiery anger. Wronged by a lover, the lyricist denounces love in its entirety and curses its tendency to be followed by inevitable disappointment. Another shift in thought is marked by the stark contrast of “Make It Last,” which suggests giving a relationship one last chance simply for the sake of familiarity. “They say when you love something you’ve gotta set it free / And I say, no one knows what it’s like to be you and me.” In a possible effort to attain closure for Cosentino and listeners alike, the final song “Used To Be” symbolizes letting go and moving on into the unknown.

“Always Tomorrow” ultimately revels in the unpredictable nature of life and love despite the musically-represented urges to mercilessly fight back. It seems likely that Best Coast will continue to represent Los Angeles with their indie-rock flare and universal, lyrical anthems for the youth lost in love.

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