Best Coast | The Only Place

Mexican Summer (2012)
By DAN WEISS  |  May 8, 2012
4.0 4.0 Stars

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It was heartbreaking to see Bethany Cosentino's 2010 full-length debut, Crazy for You, questioned for lacking "overall intelligence." How is it somehow more intelligent in a self-Instagramming world of LOLcats, weed, immature romance, and jobless depression that someone should not write a record about those very things? Those signifiers made it the rare indie totem straightforward enough to draw real sobs: "I'm sorry I lost your favorite T-shirt/I'll buy you a new one/A better one" pleaded one of Cosentino's characters, desperate to salvage the love she's mishandled. The indeed more "mature" The Only Place (better-sung, slower, expansively produced by the canonical Jon Brion) relegates this pain to subtext as she sobers up. "I don't remember what it means to be me," Cosentino sings miserably on "Do You Love Me Like You Used To," following the aptly titled "How They Want Me To Be" and "Better Girl." Now that she sounds capable of leaving the house, it's still refreshing to hear her call herself "dumb." But has her craft ever bloomed. With Brion's help, Cosentino opens up her beachy Phair-goes-girl-group pop with torch lounge ("Dreaming My Life Away"), jangle-punk ("Let's Go Home"), and the uncharacteristically happy title tune, which matches Katy Perry in its unabashed Golden State boosterism. More intelligent, though.

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