One of the overriding themes of the past, say, decade or so of pop music has been a certain “retroism”; taking sounds from the ’60s-’80s and repackaging them as new. One of the odd things is how ubiquitous this idea’s been across the spectrum; everyone from no-name underground bands to pop megastars (sup, Gaga?) have embraced the trend. It’s led to some bad throwback songs, but some that have an oddly timeless feel to them.
Indie trio Best Coast’s album Crazy For You falls mostly into the latter. For all of the subgenre geeks out there, it’s indie pop meets surf rock meets girl groups meets shoegaze; basic but ambient guitar lines with catchy, childlike melodies and bouncy drum work all drenched in reverb. Short version: Imagine if My Bloody Valentine and the Beach Boys did a collaboration for Sarah Records (and give yourself five indie points if this paragraph made any sense at all). Crazy For You is hard to pin to any time because there’s subtle influences from all over.
Underneath that wave of description, Crazy For You is charmingly simple. Musically, it’s a guitar/drums/little bass mix that your buddy’s garage band could play with Bethany Cosentino’s sticky-sweet vocals on top. This is a very vocal album; aside from occasional intros or scattered guitar melodies, Cosentino’s voice is always at the forefront. And frankly, that’s not really a bad thing since she gives these songs personality. “Our Deal” croons with gentle desperation while “Happy” bounces along (although the lyrics reveal darker undertones).
Crazy For You screams Summer Album. Between the cover art (yep), the surf rock influence, and song titles like “Summer Mood”, this record begs to be listened to on beaches or in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s car with the windows down. Katy Perry might have pushed Teenage Dream as the official 2010 Ode to Summer, but Costenino and co. claimed the crown just days after the titular “Teenage Dream” single was released. Perry went from the grandiose summations of adolescence on that song, but simple ditties like “Boyfriend” and “Goodbye” say much more with much less. The fact that they’re also catchier is an added perk.
All that said, I only have one complaint with Crazy For You: It all sounds the same. The album’s only a little over half an hour long, which coupled with the sameiness can lead to a “What? It’s over?” reaction as “When I’m With You” ends. This sameness also applies to the lyrics: the topics are relationships, weed, and Consentino’s cat. That’s it. Count how many times she rhymes “crazy” and “lazy”, anything with “friend”, and how many lines get repeated. It’s not a true dealbreaker, but the repetition does get uncomfortable once you notice it.
All in all, Crazy For You is a tough one to rate when you get to the bottom of it. The music is gorgeous but tastefully basic, the production values are stellar, and the melodies are wonderful. But the repetition, brevity, and weak lyrics of the album are sizable detractors. Still though, four stars.
tl;dr: Crazy For You could soundtrack any indie “girl likes boy” movie. Four stars.