Album Review: Best Coast – Always Tomorrow

Ten years since releasing debut album Crazy For You and life has changed for Bethany Cosentino, as well as her fans. We’ve all seen the world spin a few more times — for better and worse. Maturity, self-acceptance, sobriety and coping with the often confusing reality of being an actual adult are the themes of this excellent new album Always Tomorrow.

From the opening song Bethany sings it like she means it, like she’s lived it and she’s here to blast through the bullshit to some emotional truths. Every song hums with cathartic energy, with that quintessential Best Coast directness to the lyrics which feels like you’re sharing secrets with an old friend.

Opener Different Light is about seeing your life in a new way, finding peace for yourself. What if this just goes away? I have got used to looking forward to another day she sings, unable to believe her new found contentment will last. Maybe it won’t but when it sounds this good and rocks out this hard then you’ve just got to enjoy it anyway.

Everything Has Changed was written before she became sober, almost like she wrote her future into life. Change is possible. It might not look exactly like you imagined it but you can get through the bad to somewhere better. To be a fan is to also grow up with an artist, and it hit me hard to hear her sound so happy (I also cried over Rollercoaster, and I’m not even a cat person).

The Fleetwood Mac influence is clear on For the First Time and I think this might be one of the best songs she’s ever written. It’s a story of recovery, and self-acceptance.‘ I feel like myself again but for the first time’. To find yourself is sometimes to let go of what you were before and start again.

On ‘Graceless Kids’ she sings of her insecurities and her crippling writer’s block, which she coped with thanks to collaborating with Bobb Bruno. Being an artist means presenting a version of yourself to the world and when she sings ‘I’m just a phoney in floral print dress’ you can hear her trying to reconcile these complex feelings of personal and artistic identity. By the end of the song she looks in the mirror, talking to herself almost. Let them help you through it / slivers of joy peek through / but only when you let them/ So why don’t you just let them. That’s the kind of advice we all need to take.

The second half of the record deals with the emotional reality of relationships. True is a tentative moment of happiness sounding like a great lost sixties girl group ballad. Seeing Red is an immediate rebuke to that song, about weakness and being unable to move on, feeling like you’re always singing the same song about bad relationships. Artists share their lives with us and sometimes that means repeating the same mistakes over and over (personally and musically) until finally reaching solid ground enough to find a new way forward. By the final song Used To Be she has found that emotional maturity and personal freedom she was looking for.

Life changes, people change, things can never be still, all you can do is keep moving forward and never give up hope for a better future. Thankfully we have music as brilliantly catchy and cathartic as Always Tomorrow to soundtrack the rollercoaster ride.

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