The Only Place, the second studio album from Los Angeles duo Best Coast, comes across as a somewhat uncertain proclamation of love. Love for California, summer, friends, family, lovers and love lost.
Thanks mostly to Bethany Cosentino's crooning melodies and breathy harmonies, Best Coast continues to capture a dreamy, sun-drenched surf-pop sound. Like the band's debut album, Crazy For You, The Only Place is filled with self-aware lyrics that are at once real, broken and charmingly innocent. "My mom was right / I don't want to die / I want to live my life."
Title track "The Only Place" is a shiny, feel-good summertime jam--ideal for use as the intro on your annual summer mix tape. "Why would you live anywhere else? / We've got the ocean, got the babes / Got the sun, we've got the waves," Cosentino sings. If that doesn't make you want to go forth valiantly without sunscreen, nothing will.
And if summer love is on your horizon, "Up All Night" is sure to accompany the break-up that will ensue when reality hits and you've failed to make the appropriate sacrifices to the gods of love and semi-casual summer relationships. "Where I live / And where you live / Are not the same / We're not to blame / Just too crazy / And far too bored / And way too lazy to make it work."
Not to mention, the album's final bonus track, "Angsty," fits its name perfectly--hitting with a harder sound, heavier guitar and more reverb: "It's overwhelming how much I hate everything / But you."
A few tracks in, though, the curse of Best Coast strikes: Everything starts to sound more or less the same. Though the theme might vary from song to song, the content feels repetitive. There are a few bright moments, yes, with sexy lines scattered here and there like hidden treasures. But on the whole, The Only Place can easily turn into background music.
Though it's best to purchase full albums whenever possible, if you're not Best Coast's No. 1 fan, take this opportunity to be selective. Buy a few songs (particularly those mentioned above) and play them on repeat. The experience will be fairly similar to listening to the whole record.