The Only Place
The sophomore slum is a bitch. And Best Coast’s second full-length is proof of that. Bethany Cosentino and bandmate Bob Bruno follow up their amazing debut buzzy and light Crazy For You (which ended up as my 9th favorite album of 2010) with their “take-me-serious” record The Only Place — an album so devoid of fun and joy it’s a drag to get through.
The album’s self-titled lead single was one of the best things here and that really didn’t leave any sort of impression on me. It’s a decent track but Cosentino sounds like she’s just doing her thing without any effort. “Hey let’s write a song about how GREAT California is yeah!” is pretty much how I imagine things went down on this record. “Hey, let’s still kinda write about boys and being sad but let’s do it in a SAD way instead of the opposite!” The only thing that really sticks on the record is the closing track “Up All Night.” But after listening to it a few times, I soon realized it was pretty much a slowed down version of “Bratty B” — a Crazy For You highlight.
It’s not that the rest of the record is terrible though. Things mostly range from boring to lame and at times the record is a pain to sit through. On the bright side, the production pretty much does a 180 here and things are hi-fi and we can hear everything (not sure we really want to) to a tee. We can thank Jon Brion for that. Brion has produced records for Kanye, Fiona Apple and some soundtracks as well. One song where the production sounds fantastic is on the jazzy “Dreaming My Life Away.”
The hooks are here for most of the songs but they aren’t developed enough to be as infectious as the tracks on Best Coast’s debut. Instead the band turns out tracks that sound forced and confusing; startling the line to take Best Coast in a new direction or reamin in familiar territory where things become stale.
Listen to “The Only Place” below: