I don’t know, man. I was pretty fucking stoked on Crazy For You. I had a pretty good time seeing Best Coast live last year. I expected this record to be just as strong as the last one (and the multiple 7″ releases). Sadly, the record is more “ehhh” than anything else. It is not bad, but it isn’t particularly great either.
The shiny, surf pop songs are few and far between here. Still good pop, but more calm and mid tempo. It feels like the fun got sucked out of the band. The lyrics are pretty fucking plodding. The best part of Crazy For You was, despite being rather simple, the lyrics and vocals were full of hooks. Shit would just get stuck in your head, and you goddamn liked it. While I don’t expect great lyrics to come out of pop music, the things here are just repetitive. The Only Place seems, save for the titular song, to be rather depressing. While the last record had a similar vibe lyrically, the music made up for it. This record is just kind of a bummer.
Let it not be said that there is not good parts here. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno still know how to write a good pop song. Bethany’s voice sounds pretty great on all these songs. Since the last record, she sounds a lot stronger vocally. Jon Brion’s production sounds pretty fucking great. He managed to get this to sound well produced without completely washing over the low-fi sound that the band is known for. It is cleaner, but not glossy.
Honestly, my biggest complaint with the whole thing is the clumsy lyrics. While it never falls victim to complete Henery the Eighth, I Am syndrome, it does get pretty fucking close. Repeating a line in a song is fine, but when the lion’s share is the same 2 and a half phrases repeated over and over again, like in “How They Want Me To Be,” it can get a little much. I don’t know.
I’m not ready to fully write this off as a sophomore slump. I’m thinking this record might be a grower. I mean, it is still a good summer record. Talk to me in August. We’ll know for sure by then.