The Only Place by Best Coast, Mexican Summer, 2012.
Best Coast is made up of core members Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno. On their breakthrough album Crazy for You, they impressed critics and listeners alike with their low-fi, reverbed pop songs that harkened back to the days of 60’s pop music. Cosentino sings about love in all its frustrations, but channels her heartache into catchy, hook-laden tunes that are fun to sing along with. On their follow up album, The Only Place, Cosentino and Bruno have teamed up with producer Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West) for a more polished sound. The album is only 35 minutes long and contains the same catchy music as their debut.
As a native Californian, it’s easy for me to like Best Coast’s music. Cosentino’s songs are perfect pop songs, short and catchy. Like the Ramones, you don’t listen to them for their inspirational or thought provoking lyrics, but for their well-crafted hooks and melodies. The opening track, “The Only Place” is a love letter to California that’s been one of my favorite songs this summer: “We got the ocean/ Got the babes/ Got the sun/ We got the waves/This is the only place for me.” The sentiments are not profound, but when combined with Cosentino’s strong vocals and the jangly guitar, it makes for a great pop song.
The songs on The Only Place sound more polished than the messier production of the previous album. While this works great on some songs (“The Only Place,” “Dreaming My Life Away”), I must say I missed some of the sloppy, garage band sound from Crazy for You. The songs are still distinctive thanks to Cosentino’s strong singing and songwriting, but a little more generic for the higher production value. There are more slower tempo songs on this album, which I had a harder time getting into.
Best Coast continues to craft terrific pop songs on The Only Place, their follow up to their debut Crazy for You. Bethany Cosentino’s strong singing and songwriting make this a great summer album, full of catchy melodies and romantic yearning.
Why did I include this title?
I loved Best Coast’s Crazy for You when it came out a few years ago. It’s amazing how effortless Bethany Cosentino makes it seem to write a great pop song. This is a different, more polished album, but it still has a lot of the charm from the band’s debut that I think listeners will enjoy.