Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good Music: Best Coast - "Boyfriend"

Review by Paul Steven Brown

Best Coast
Crazy for You (Album out July 27, 2010 from Mexican Summer)

A girl's desire to win the heart of another's boyfriend is not uncommon in popular music. In the last year, the most recognized interpretation of this theme has been "You Belong to Me" by Taylor Swift. A few years before her, Avril Lavigne took a more direct and less wistful approach with her single "Girlfriend". Feeling concerned that the desire to steal boyfriends away from other girls was sending a negative message to young women, Eddie Argos and his side project, Everybody Was In the French Resistance...NOW, delivered a response from the boy's perspective on "G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N. (You Know I've Got A)".

Best Coast joins the party with their own version of this premise. However, there's something in the delivery that elevates this above the efforts of Ms. Swift and Ms. Lavigne. Bethany Cosentino's voice, awashed in reverb and surrounded lush backing "ahhs", feels more like an internal monologue and less like a vocal plea (Swift) or a demand (Lavigne). Whereas Swift's song dealt with isolation due to high school cliques, Cosentino is dealing with a separation based on class (not to mention a fair dose of self-deprecation). The other girl has a college degree, while the singer dropped out at seventeen. It adds another layer to what would be fairly typical lyrics for this topic.

This is all wrapped up in splashy guitar chords and a driving beat. A wonderfully understated guitar solo pops in about half way, developing on a lick that is used on the intro and the outro. Yes, it's a familiar theme, but "Boyfriend" does a great job of rising above the convention.

("Boyfriend" can by heard here.)

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