Love Sick

Bethany Cosentino longs, pines and wishes her way through Best Coast’s first album.

Bethany Cosentino: the voice of Best Coast
Bethany Cosentino: the voice of Best Coast

"I wish he was my boyfriend,” goes the first line of Best Coast’s debut full-length, Crazy for You, like a thesis statement from a tightly honed term paper. Crazy for You’s songs focus almost exclusively on pining for a loved one, longing for that elusive someone (referred to as an unnamed “you,” “him,” etc. throughout) the narrator misses. Frankly, it’s a little intense as a package, and if these songs were all directed at someone in real life, that someone would think the author was literally crazy for them.

“It can sound like I’m some kind of weird stalker,” singer/guitarist Bethany Cosentino admits. “The truth is that a lot of it is very genuine and a lot of the emotion was coming from a place where I had felt those feelings, [but] when the record first

came out, people were like, ‘Who is this person you’re crazy for and why are you so crazy?’ People can interpret it however they want, but I got sick of people saying I’m this needy, crazy girl, because I’m not.”

Stylistically, Best Coast — comprised of Cosentino, guitarist Bobb Bruno and drummer Ali Koehler — varies from fuzzy, lo-fi indie rock to charming torch songs, all led by Cosentino’s classic vocals. Think Jenny Lewis fronting Vivian Girls. (Incidentally, Koehler is a former member of the latter.) But in terms of subject matter, it’s pretty much all longing, all the time — not that there’s anything wrong with that. The loose theme, to hear Cosentino tell it, just sort of happened. A product of her subconscious. Of course, a recent girl-group binge didn’t hurt.

“I really started listening to a lot of [that] stuff when I was living in New York and super homesick for California,” Cosentino recalls. “Even though a lot of that came from the East Coast, it’s a nostalgic sound for me and made me feel happy when I wasn’t. I just love that those songs are so simple and that what these girls are saying is like, ‘My Boyfriend’s Back.’” “It’s also funny that a lot of those songs were written by men. It’s kind of weird that these men were writing songs for girls about wanting to be with a man. But I think the vibe of that stuff is what influences me. I just want people to listen to Best Coast and feel better.”

Considering her influences and the fact she makes these simple songs about pining for a loved one, her latest collaboration makes perfect sense. After including a Weezer song on an online mix tape she made for UK paper The Independent, Cosentino got a Twitter message from the king of alt-rock longing himself, Rivers Cuomo, thanking her and expressing his Best Coast fandom. Over time and some continued communication, the pair co-wrote a song together. Cosentino is hesitant to say much about it at the moment and isn’t sure where it will end up. But for now, she’s pumped.

“It was really, really exciting to be able to work with him,” she says. “Obviously, I’m of the generation that grew up listening to Weezer. They’re a band I’ve loved since I was probably nine or 10 years old. He’s not as straightforward and emotionally cheesy as I am, but there are those sounds of longing in Weezer songs. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”

Best Coast plays with Sonny and the Sunsets, No Joy and the Young Professionals • Sun, Oct. 31, 7:30 pm • $12, advance; $15, door • Stage54 • All-ages • • (800) 325-SEAT

Thursday Night Live (TNL) @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Third Thursday of every month. Continues through Sept. 16
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