Friday, November 5, 2010

Best Coast vs. Jenny & Johnny

It could be 31 degrees, icicles dripping down the sides of my gutters and hanging off my eyebrows. I could be struggling to breathe, the wind catching in my lungs like a trap, suctioning all life from my chest.

It could be the kind of day where your arms feel sticky, as if they were traps for mosquitoes. The zipper on your top burns marks into your chest. Sweat drips from your hair.

I don't care what it is. I don't care how cold or how hot or if I'm on a business trip in Arizona or I'm hibernating under my covers. I could be in France, I could be in Zimbabwe. I might be stepping onto a plane, I might be digging a hole in the sand.

I don't care.

Best Coast makes the kind of music that just makes me feel good. It's the kind of carefree whimsy that I want my every action to reflect. It's 60's and it's modern, it's the past and it's so very right now. It's edgy and it's sugary. It's everything at once, and it's brutal and honest, and sometimes you get this unmistakable urge to blurt out the lyrics at the top of your lungs.

I don't care that you say it's simple and vacant and that Bethany Cosentino makes shallow, shallow songs about her selfish life. Don't pretend like you aren't selfish and self-righteous and indulgent sometimes. You are probably selfish all the time. (Unless you have kids. I've heard that changes things.) And don't pretend like her music has less worth than some more snobbish high art form.

Don't put her on a list of "overrated albums of the year." Just don't even make those lists. Those lists are worthless and hurtful and aren't contributing anything productive to our society. I talk about bands that bug me all day long, but I'm not going to waste my time or anyone else's writing it down.

Best Coast is relatable and it's easy, and sometimes I don't want to have to try that hard to like music. We're not talking Ne-Yo here. We're talking real songs and real instruments and real talent. But it's not challenging. For a change, that's nice.

Jenny & Johnny: I haven't listened to you much. I enjoy a does of Rilo Kiley every now and then, and I have been championing Johnathan Rice since he released Further North in 2007. And let me tell you: nobody cared about Rice in 2007. I couldn't even convince my mom to listen to him, let alone my college radio pals. But I never was the kind of fiend that sat like a really drool-y dog waiting for a denta-bone as I anticipated the next Jenny Lewis album.

That said, with my limited knowledge of Jenny & Johnny separately and collectively, I must say, I love the song, "Big Wave." It's airy - some badass guitars cut through big huge passages of sunshine and openness. Lewis' vocals are the perfect mix of whiny and strong, and the chorus is as glorious as any pop song released in 2010.

Still, all I can think of is Best Coast.

How is this song even a little bit different than Best Coast's "Crazy For You"? Same woozy oohs and ahhs, same summer glory. West coast, best coast, best couple, couple of hits. I'm all over the sound. It's not original, nor is it new or special.

Yet it's wonderful.
Crazy For You by Best Coast by Pam Ribbeck

Big Wave by Jenny And Johnny

1 comment:

  1. I think the biggest tragedy of Jenny and Johnny's I'm Having Fun Now is that it was released after Best Coast's Crazy for You. By the time it was released in September, everyone had already been overdosed on sun and surf.

    Both albums are about the same except Jenny and Johnny sing about politics and Best Coast features the catchiest ditties of this year about boyfriends and weed.

    But they're both totally fun aren't they!