February 19th, 2010 | Album reviews

Download: Best Coast “When I’m With You”


(from the “When I’m With You” 45 out now on Black Iris)

Best Coast blows me out of the water every time. Bethany Cosentino’s chillaxed love-letter lyrics sung over her surf-’verbed guitar as backed by the pop orchestra that is Bobb Bruno make heartbreak sound so good, I wish somebody would dump me right now! It’s at once cute and cool, temporally vague but stylistically quite specific and full of accessible clichés that can be filled with whatever meaning our nostalgic-yet-progressive generation might want to attach. A-side, “When I’m With You,” starts slow, sparse and deliberate, claiming that “the world is lazy/but you and me/we’re just crazy.” Suddenly, the drums turn boredom into a chance to dance, and nonchalance smears itself all over the simple yet compelling composition. Girl group lyrics like “my momma always told me there’d be boys like you” take me back to the night I first watched Dirty Dancing and discovered the Ronettes. This is music that wants to have been made 40 years ago and knows that in twenty years, no one will be able to tell when it really came from. The coda of “I ain’t sleepin’ alone!” sounds as much like a threat to a parent as like a boast—or perhaps a self-conscious confession—and the equally catchy B-side, “This is Real,” follows a similar pattern of sincerely slanky pop bravado. It will get stuck in your head, and that will be a good thing. Best Coast’s music is as suitable for a drive up sunny PCH as it is for a flight to a funeral—and believe me, I’ve tested this theory.

—Drew Denny