Sunday, May 06, 2012

Bad Vibrations (Or — Shut the Fuck Up, Best Coast)

What follows is an open letter to the band Best Coast.
Hi there, Best Coast!

My name is Drew. You don’t know me, but I’ve been enjoying your work for some time now — since 2010, my iTunes library tells me, when I downloaded the phenomenal “Boyfriend.” I’ve come to love your low-fi sound and the way you take surf rock to a place as bright and fun as, well, a beach.

But we’ve got a problem: Your new single makes me want to drive my car into the Pacific Ocean and drown. We get it. You fucking love California. I mean, look at what you named your band. In a way, it’s refreshing to know that indie rockers had the courage to wholeheartedly support something when the stereotype for your kind is apathy or a deadpan, ironic endorsement. But “The Only Place” goes too goddamn far. I hate to say it, but Hipster Runoff is right: It sounds like a Best Coast parody.

Have you listened to your song?


A tourism board ad jingle could not possibly be more insistent about enumerating California’s virtues. You’re a talented group of people, and you need to aspire to better lyrics than these:
Why would you live anywhere else?
We've got the ocean, got the babes
Got the sun, we've got the waves
This is the only place for me
So leave your cold behind
We’re gonna make it to the beach on time
These sound like lyrics that Zack Morris’s band would sing. Hell, this is worse than a California Dreams song. Yeah — I’d rather listen to “Don’t Wake Me Up Because I’m Dreaming” than this thing you have made.

Please keep in mind that this is coming from a guy who’s lived in California more or less his entire life. In fact, I’ve recently relocated to Los Angeles, and I’m in the midst of a fairly serious love affair with this city. But that doesn’t mean I can tolerate “The Only Place” stinking up my KCRW on my morning drive to work. Can you imagine how this sounds to someone who lives in one of the other forty-nine? To someone in Delaware? California needs to encourage out-of-staters to come visit and spend money here, not to avoid us at all costs because they think we’re a bunch of idiot beach bums who can’t stop going on about how great we have it and how the rest of the U.S. is Mad Max and oh my god — doesn’t our shit smell like coconut oil?

In closing, I’d like you to consider the fact that your band name speaks for itself. Also, the whole of your fanbase, Californian and not, would probably prefer it if you sang about other subjects in the future — relationships maybe, or perhaps how Idaho is kind of cool too, in its own way — because “The Only Place” has explored the pro-California thematic territory more thoroughly than any song needed to.

Eagerly awaiting your future musical explorations,
Drew Mackie

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:06 PM

    My Chemical Romance has a song titled "We Don't Need Another Song About California". While that may not be what the song is actually about, the title hits the nail on the head.

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    1. I haven't heard the song, but it makes a good point, at least in title. I mean, hell -- try writing a good song about Utah. Now that's a challenge.

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  2. Surf dudes with attitudes/kinda groovy/laid back moods.

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    1. Is how the next Best Coast song will go, yes.

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