By Carrie Bright, First Year Philosophy
No longer an indie outsider, Beabadoobee gives us one of the best albums of the year with her bittersweet grunge-pop tracks, reminiscent of the 90s bands that inspired her.
Beabadoobee has come a long way in a year. In 2019 she was playing smaller venues, including Bristol’s Louisiana, as one third of a Dirty Hit label tour. This year, she has toured with the 1975, had her single ‘Care’ streamed on Radio 1 and the ever so irritatingly ubiquitous ‘Coffee’ cover has been streamed on TikTok over 10 billion times. As a friend so aptly put it, ‘It’s not impressive to know who she is anymore.’
Musically, too, she has evolved. Whilst the single ‘Care’ harks back to her earlier songs, with its storming chorus and accompanying jangly guitar, the rest of the album progresses to something rather different than what we have heard from her before. Her catchy pop tunes of old have becomes darker, grittier, angrier, punkier.
The intro to ‘Dye it Red’ is reminiscent of Nirvana, though perhaps Hole would be the more accurate comparison. Bea supported the 1975’s action to only play gender balanced festivals, agreeing that ‘we need more chicks on stage.’ We certainly do, and she is certainly making her case.Bea’s sweet pop-esque voice perfectly juxtaposes the grungy guitar tone, resulting in a uniquely feminine sound evocative of acts like Daddy Issues and Milk Teeth.
The demand is surely there for more female fronted rock; Miley Cyrus’ recent take on ‘Heart of Glass’ has already received over 20 million streams on Spotify, with eager anticipation for an upcoming album of a similar style.
It is these heavier tracks on ‘Fake it Flowers’ such as the angry, raw, ‘Charlie Brown’ and the Press Club sounding ‘Worth It’ that are crying out to be performed live. Lucky for us, Bea is set to perform at Bristol’s SWX in September.
Despite the 90s grunge overtones, the album is not without its mellow moments, too. ‘How was your day?’, the lo-fi ballad, with its A B rhyme scheme and heartbreakingly simple lyrics “How was your day? / Was it okay?”, is evocative of Bea’s earlier influences, Elliott Smith and Daniel Johnston, or more contemporarily, Mount Eerie.
Its uncomplicated nature makes it one of the most affecting songs on the album. This unpolished sound continues to the last track ‘Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene’ with a short snippet of audio reminiscent of Car Seat Headrest.
This album, claims Bea, is ‘for the girls.’
In addition to her punky-led verses and catchy choruses, part of why it works is the realness of the lyrics. These are not empty platitudes, but the laments of a girl who has felt pain, and come out the other side.
Bea encapsulates the feelings, insecurities, the highs and lows of youth, and at only age 20, why shouldn’t she? In a recent interview, she told The Guardian she ‘wanted to be that girl she needed when she was 15.’ Here, she’s achieved that, she’s the girl we all need, and we are all better for it.
Featured Image: Courtesty of Ian Cheek Press
What did you make of Fake it Flowers?