I wasn’t planning on writing about the new Best Coast album, even though I listened to it three times at work today. And then I read Pitchfork Reviews Reviews‘s “Special Moment in Best Coast History”, which makes a really compelling argument for writing about Crazy for You. As my last.fm account will attest, Best Coast is one of my most played/beloved artists of the last year (coming in 3rd place behind Fat Tulips and Liz Phair, which isn’t too shabby since up until today I only had something like 20 Best Coast tracks to listen to vs. 138 for Liz Phair and 65 for Fat Tulips.) Best Coast was also one of the top shows I’ve seen this year (and not just because Bethany gave Drew props for his old school Weezer t-shirt.)
I basically wore out my Best Coast 7”s (and recognize that I’m in a pretty lucky position to even have actual 7”s to wear out), so I was so stoked when I heard that they were going to be releasing a full-length album on Mexican Summer. I pre-ordered it like the second it became available for pre-order and then I got kind of worried — I noticed that I was skipping past the Best Coast track on my latest summer jams mix (preferring to listen to Prince’s “When You Were Mine” or Elvis Costello’s “Less Than Zero” over and over again) & that I got a little bristly when Drew said something about Best Coast being my favorite band, “They are not!” I insisted and then I wondered — what if this meant I was getting over Best Coast? What if this meant the album would be a letdown?
And then, yesterday, that Best Coast/Kid Cudi/Rostam Batmanglij collab came out and it was awesome and my faith was totally restored. So no worries.
And the album? How have I not talked about the album yet? The album is so good. And do you know why? It has to do with the Baby-Sitters Club. I grew up reading Baby-Sitters Club books. A regular book was medium-length, big-print, about every day challenges faced by baby-sitters (i.e. having to deal with bratty kids.) But the books about summer vacation? Those were double length and they were always about going away somewhere and there was high-drama and heartache and maybe something wild and exciting, like an urgent accident? But everything was always fine by the end and everyone was on the beach or around the campfire or whatever, talking about how they wished summer would never be over so that they didn’t have to go back to Stoneybrook, Connecticut? That is what this album is like. It is like a Super Special.
There are some familiar songs, “Boyfriend” and “Our Deal” have been streaming online for a few weeks now and “Bratty B” is brought back from the Where the Boys Are demo tape (and it’s fantastic, just so you know.) But the new songs? The new songs are great, too. I love all of them. And because I’m home alone on a Friday night (waiting to head out for a show at the Grog Shop while watching TV on DVD), and because I’ve already compared the Best Coast album to a Baby-Sitters Club Super Special, I might as well go ahead and cement that Crazy for You Baby-Sitters Club connection by comparing members of the BSC to select Best Coast songs. (If you do not have a vast, in-depth knowledge of the individual members of the Baby-Sitters Club, well, that’s what WikiPedia is for.)
“Crazy for You” is Stacy McGill, boy crazy but unsure, coltish, almost. Always anticipating her next great romance, but never really feeling fulfilled. Remember that scene in one of the earliest BSC books? Maybe even the first one? Where Stacy is wearing that sweet outfit made out of grey sweatshirt material? It’s like a skirt and a top and it’s grey with yellow numbers on it? And she’s wearing yellow earrings shaped like numbers? And she’s flirting with Kristy’s older brother in Watson Brewer’s kitchen? Talk about sass. This song is that moment — savvy (but boy crazy) Stacey pursuing a mysterious older dude & then realizing that he’s just not enough for her.
In the horrible event that MaryAnn Spier and Logan Bruno ever broke up, the soundtrack to their breakup would (CLEARLY) be “The End.” It’s sweetly chaste and sentimental, just like you would expect a MaryAnn Spier love song to be.
Pair together “Goodbye” & “Summer Mood” and you have the story of “California Casual” Dawn Schaffer, stuck in Stoneybrook & pining away for Palo City. Both songs are melancholy, searching for a sense of wholeness and completion. They are golden west coast valentines of the saddest, purest, most teenage kind.
The “you” in “Our Deal” reminds me of Kristy — tight-lipped when it comes to her secret thoughts and feelings, wanting to maintain a sense of control and composure at the risk of seeming distant, alienating, maybe even bossy or withholding.
“I Want To” is Mallory Pike… Stuck at home with mono and then shuttled off to boarding school, pining for her pals in the BSC. When Bethany sings, “I want to go back to the first time, the first place,” I can’t help but thinking of Mallory thinking of happier times… Like the early days of her junior membership with the BSC.
“Bratty B” is Claudia Kishi, if, for no other reason, than it involves a telephone and Claudia is the only member of the Baby-Sitters Club with her own telephone line.
I love this album, I do. So much so that I will publicly embarrass myself on the internet by sharing my actual Best Coast/Baby-Sitter’s Club related thoughts with you. Just like thinking about The Baby-Sitters Club brings me back to my literary first time & first place, Best Coast brings me back to the first time & first place of music and youth and independence and happiness. There is a sincerity to Best Coast that reminds me of why I love music and, especially, lo-fi pop music. I’ve already listened to it four times today & I’m still on pins and needles thinking about the fact that my physical copy will come in the mail at the end of the month. And that’s how you know it’s a Super Special.
You can order crazy for you from Mexican Summer records. It’s due out at the end of July. Best Coast is currently prepping for a tour in support of the album, you can see tour dates here (scroll down to the bottom of the page.)