Best Coast
The Only Place


1.5
very poor

Review

by robin EMERITUS
May 7th, 2012 | 85 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I, too, wish my cat could talk.

No matter how many times you say fun I still can’t have it. The Only Place feels like the greying out of Bethany Cosentino, the same sentiments she’s been pushing just rolling on to the next page, blowing through the streets, always the streets of California, like an endless gust of weed smoke. It is talking to the same people from the same couch as trashy TV rolls quietly and insignificantly in the background, thinking about fixing the same problems but clinging to them like little nuggets of meaning, pining over the same guy and being too lazy to do anything about it. We’re still supposed to take it to the beach and get high to it and take pictures of our cat to go on a clip reel with it. We’re right where we left off: “when I’m with you,” when we’re together, “I have fun.”

Okay. Either this record is boring, or I am. Don’t tell me. The way Crazy For You ended epitomized that record, because it held up a mirror to its mad dependence. All the weed was taken out of the fucking boredom of waiting for your prospective boyfriend to not come ‘round; going half out of your mind and talking to your pet was a replacement act and saying the same thing over and over and over again was to calm the thoughts that consumed. The distractions only lasted minutes. Minutes? Perfect! Write a pop song. “When I’m With You” was a fitting conclusion of all these little anxieties, because what is an album about ‘weed and my cat and being lazy a lot’ without the fun you could be having? I guess it’s nothing. The Only Place is kind of nothing.

In its nothingness, everyone will tell me, “it sounds like every Best Coast album” and point back to Crazy For You as being as simple as what follows it. It will reinforce a lyric like “I wish my cat could talk,” a line that is pretty much the holy grail of simple lyrics. Give me a simple lyric any day, for all the obvious reasons: it’s honest, or it speaks to an experience we’re probably all having, or maybe it’s just easier to connect with someone over having a bad day than it is to grasp for meaning in it. When I hear a simple lyric of Cosentino’s, though, it’s simple because she has nothing to say and no experience to share with anyone but the dude she’s talking to. This would be James Last’s surf pop muzak if not for the elongating of words like “fun” and “life” and the constant repetition of that nothingness refusing to dig through the surface. All Cosentino has to write about on The Only Place is the distractions, and last time around that nothingness, played on a purely upbeat note, lasted the summer and died out as fast as the weather did.

And so the most hideous crime The Only Place commits is that, yes, it is an “emo” record, just like Cosentino said she wanted- emo not for the guitars twinkling or the skramz screaming, but for the gloomy, plodding place it exists in. It comes from exactly the same place that the sun shone on for Crazy For You, but with the grey shading. That doesn't refer to the inevitable move away from being a lo-fi band, either- it barely factors. Again we’re at home with Cosentino on the couch, listening to her music the way it was lazily written, and lazy isn’t an insult: it’s like a badge a Best Coast record proudly pins on itself. Everyone is out somewhere with something to do and The Only Place is at home with the curtains pulled over.

The result of darkening the room by the beachside is this: the drab distractions of fun and the sad twee ballads all move The Only Place at a precisely made, sluggish speed through half an hour of Cosentino’s white lies about being unhappy and pissed off with friends. It’s all held up through jangle pop played in a major key, but in this even Cosentino seems unsympathetic towards her character- the melancholy is only ever piled on a happy melody and the never-ending sadness, as on the guitar-chugged “Last Year,” seems like a red herring played for the hell of it (again: nothingness). That’s why the song indulges in the surface of lyrics rather than the words on the inside, and why Cosentino becomes more entertaining when she expresses her “la de das” instead of the problems she seems little interested in. “What a year this day has been” is a lyric that reflects the grungy, uncaring nature of this track, but any venting on The Only Place remains simply that on this is an album of surface- nothing goes any deeper, because nothing can come from nothing.

What The Only Place entails is a list of reasons to not be having fun, but the description is unsympathetic, and not only in Cosentino’s lyrics: the music feels entirely out of step with the record’s moody facade, like eleven new versions of the impassioned, irony-smacked “Positively Fourth Street” but intending none of the scorn Dylan did in his music. And this is just how Cosentino writes; her dad-rock-surf-pop guitar music sounds nothing but sincere in its airy and carefree construction, and as a result it means as little as her lyrics do, just in the complete opposite way. What results is a bizarre record of contrasting base material, a bittersweet record without any of the force behind what make those words sting. The Only Place becomes a record that is suggesting everything but giving none of it, and what sucks the most is that this badge of laziness is entirely of Cosentino’s choosing. She neutralises these two parts into some sort of post-beachcore album that cynically rhymes words like “fun” with themselves, just to point to as it was last time around.

So it's fitting that the best moment here is “Up All Night,” a song entirely about feel: it’s long and gloomy, but dedicated to its story for more than four minutes, ditching the superficial twee brevity for a little focus on what’s upsetting Cosentino and how a pop song of little guitar riffing can speak for that. This side of Cosentino feels none forced as the band rollicks through guitar licks and percussive snaps that dot together the bitter with the sweet in a more palliative way: Cosentino is wistful on this closer, and the music actually reflects that, without a smile. Best Coast’s style feels fully connected here, rather than just presenting the description, the “emo,” as an afterthought. It’s as if the saving grace to Cosentino’s sadness is the time dedicated, which makes sense for this album of nothing; there’s something buried under “Up All Night,” finally. But until this moment, I’m not having fun with The Only Place, and when it’s down and out I’m not not having fun with it. All I feel towards this record is some sort of angry indifference, which feels like the exact empty feeling that it impacts on us; like nothing matters as long as I hear the same words and the same chords over and over until all I can say about this record is nothing, over and over. This is an empty record, and the exact opposite of what it means to write classic music, because through all its forced smiles and fake problems, it’s an album that means absolutely nothing to me.



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Beth Cosentio strips the soul out of her sound and tries to call it evolution....


Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
May 7th 2012


4248 Comments


if that's what gets your dick hard, telling people they're bad at making art

gabethepiratesquid
May 7th 2012


4521 Comments


I like the first album just because it's cutesy and fun for smoking in the Summer with a date or something but this loses all of the lo-fi charm and it just kinda sounds like a NeverShoutNever album from a wacky Zooey Deschanel-type indie chick. idk.

gabethepiratesquid
May 7th 2012


4521 Comments


well from the one single I heard, anyway.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2012


23826 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thought this would be a Lewis piece from the summary.

This isn't a 4.5 though Robin what the hell?

Ps fuck this band

wacknizzle
May 7th 2012


13243 Comments


Wow, good review Robin. You really hit the nail with this one, u tore this bitch up. My buddy told me this album was shit and she sold out, sounds bout right.

Digging: Dioramic - Supra

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2012


23826 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is a really good review

gabethepiratesquid
May 7th 2012


4521 Comments


"My buddy told me this album was shit and she sold out"
yeah man she totally sold out, this album is just corporate bullshit with Tiao Cruz and 2 chainz rap verses and dubstep.

no but seriously wtf

macman76
May 7th 2012


373 Comments


"because nothing can come from nothing"

Word

Great job, Robin. You killed. Definitely not checking this out now, 'cept maybe the last track

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2012


15737 Comments


slobberin for robin

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

AggravatedYeti
May 7th 2012


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

haven't read yet

but still goddayum

Polymath
May 7th 2012


3836 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I find it sad that the only song I truly enjoyed was the first track.

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2012


10423 Comments


WHY WOULD YOU LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE?!?!

Digging: Tennis - Ritual In Repeat

AggravatedYeti
May 7th 2012


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hahahaha

AtavanHalen
May 7th 2012


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love you so much

PuddlesPuddles
May 7th 2012


4772 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Review is much more fun than the album

Will not rate, though

Knott-
Emeritus
May 7th 2012


10195 Comments


principle 1.5?

fuck you

robin
Emeritus
May 8th 2012


4248 Comments


well david i did not expect that response at all, adam i changed it from a principle 1 to a genuine 1.5, rudy ily

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2012


10423 Comments


btw this is one of your best reviews fo sho. everyone loves a negative one

deathofasalesman
May 8th 2012


5842 Comments


if that's what gets your dick hard, telling people they're bad at making art

Woooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh song is currently playing right now on my iTunes.

AtavanHalen
May 8th 2012


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well david i did not expect that response at all


international man of mystery



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