Best Coast is, of course, the west coast indie-pop duo behind the 2010 smash hit ‘Boyfriend.’ I am not sure whether I can call it a smash hit, but I remember hearing it played in H&M back then, so if that doesn’t give it smash hit status in this modern age then I don’t know what would. This new release, Fade Away, they call a “mini-album,” so it kind of lies in the twilight zone between an EP and an LP. Apparently, it is to be followed by a full-length album in the spring.
The stylistic choices and influences on this record are quite, um, counter-intuitive. The overall style seems to be very much inspired by smash-hit radio pop songs of the 90s/early 00s, with the style, production and even the vocal delivery often being reminiscent of Natalie Imbruglia, the Cardigans, Avril Lavigne, an emo vibe, or sometimes more recent pop like Carly Rae Jespen. The lyrics are of the saccharine and (faux) naive kind, usually to the point of sounding silly – the song titles are a fairly accurate indicator of that, e.g. titles like ‘I Wanna Know,’ ‘Who Have I Become,’ ‘Fear of My Identity,’ (these three are actually sequenced like this, one after the other) and ‘Baby I’m Crying.’
I guess an interesting way to look at this record is as an ironic/nostalgic semi-joking project on emulating the big-hit pop radio songs of the 90s/00s, with their dated anthemic power-pop style and productions, and artificial earnestness and laboured sentimentality. Of course I do not know whether Best Coast’s intention was actually serious or joking, but one can always hope.
Quite a few of the melodies and riffs are actually fairly interesting and catchy, e.g. the track ‘This Lonely Morning‘ (still nowhere near ‘Boyfriend’ territory), but the overall execution and stylistic choices distract the listener from that, and instead make this release sound somewhat tired, repetitive, and forced.
Fade Away was released on Jewel City on the 22nd of October 2013.