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CD of The Week

Week of 10/19/20

    Beabadoobee - Fake It Flowers (Dirty Hit)

    Beabadoobee (aka Bea Kristi) first got our attention last year with her third EP of lo-fi bedroom indie-pop tunes, Space Cadet. The 20-year-old's star really took off, however, when Canadian rapper Powfu sampled her song "Coffee" as the chorus of his own "Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head)," which ended up being a worldwide hit.

    However, Bea really didn't have anything to do with that song and was set on following her own path, which led to Fake It Flowers, her full-length debut.

    Bea is part of a generation of young indie rock artists, such as Soccer Mommy and Snail Mail, mining the alt/college rock of an era literally before they were born. Fake It Flowers owes a lot to Juliana Hatfield, The Sundays and other female artists who were working in this mode in the mid-'90s. There's also a fair bit of early Smashing Pumpkins dynamics in here, most notably in "Sorry." About halfway through the song, it takes off on a rocket into a total Siamese Dream guitar homage. And the "Together" video is the most 120 Minutes thing imaginable.

    Singles "Care" and "Worth It" are built around a massive crunching guitar hook at the center of them. Beabadoobee really cranks things up for "Charlie Brown," a song about how her tattoo of good ol' Charlie & Snoopy symbolizes her issues overcoming depression and self-harm. There are also plenty of dreamy moments like "Further Away" and the acoustic-based "How Was Your Day?" which takes the production back to those early, lo-fi recordings.

    Most of her lyrics are about the subtleties of youthful relationships, on display in the chorus of "Worth It": "Seem to be breaking up / Connection too slow / So just try texting again / Don't pick up the phone / Don't think we can be friends / 'Cause you're too pretty / I wanna see you again / I don't know what I'm saying." "Sorry" is a letter to former friends who were unable to shake their drug problems, while the oddly titled "Horen Sarrison" is an unabashed love song to her boyfriend Soren Harrison (get it?). Fake It Flowers ends with the intentionally over-the-top "Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene," which are the names of her hypothetical future children with the object of her affection/obsession.

    Fake It Flowers starts to blend together after a while, as the record as a whole ends up riding the vaunted Nirvana-via-Pixies "loud/quiet/loud" dynamic. Musically, Beabadoobee isn't breaking the mold here, but doing a note-perfect pastiche of a moment in musical history, giving older listeners a rush of nostalgia while connecting with her younger fans, who may be inspired to dig deeper into the past.
    Review by Joey O.

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