Indie-rock group Best Coast released their fifth album, “Always Tomorrow,” on Friday, Feb. 21. The band’s lead vocalist and guitarist Bethany Cosentino sings about her new life after hitting rock bottom. She is accompanied by her other band member, the multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, and together, they create an optimistic and adventurous album about reaching self-actualization.
“Always Tomorrow” comes five years after Best Coast’s last album “California Nights,” where Cosentino dives into her darker inner-self, alluding to her depression and excessive drug use to deal with her existential anxiety about the future. She frequently brings up feeling stuck and cynical about her life and ends the album on a nonchalant note with the track “Wasted Time,” expressing how she relinquishes from defeating her substandard lifestyle as she sings, “I don’t really mind / All of this wasted time / Just wish that I had something to show for it.”
However, in “Always Tomorrow,” Cosentino is healing. Convincing herself to move forward by engaging in self-reflection, Cosentino reveals how she looks forward to the bright future she craves. In the opening song “Different Light,” Cosentino sings, “Lookin’ out the window and I see a million little lines / Can’t believe I see these things with my own eyes / Guess before I thought of only things being in black and white.” Within the lyrics, Cosentino addresses her newly found optimism through the metaphorical lights coming through her window, proving that she is motivated to improve her toxic habits while also recognizing her poor thought patterns.
Although Cosentino may have convinced her listeners that she is a completely renovated person on the opening track, it could not be farther from the truth. In “Rollercoaster,” she sings, “I am the same way that I used to be / Took away substances, that’s the only change I see / Still terrified of things like life and death.” The lyrics are meant to highlight the singer’s newly-adopted sobriety as she attempts to recollect her persona, even if it means simply taking life a day at a time. She very much continues to struggle with the same anxieties she mentions in her previous albums, but now she is determined to regain control of herself. In “Master of My Own Mind,” Cosentino sings, “I gotta focus / Gotta rewind / Gotta stay the master of my own mind.”
“Always Tomorrow” takes on a refreshing, introspective and new approach to both the music industry and Best Coast’s discography, all while making fans proud of Cosentino’s epiphany towards change. However, despite tackling earnest themes not frequently found in indie rock, the group’s songwriter remains criticized for her lack of creative wordplay in her lyric composition. Many defend Cosentino’s lyricism by claiming her direct word choice is effective for songs like “Make it Last” and “For The First Time,” but to say a dash of rhetoric would not be appreciated is an understatement. Best Coast flourished into the music scene a decade ago and to not hear any growth in the literary aspect of their songwriting is upsetting.
Yet, it is ironic that the straightforward lyrics, in combination with Cosentino’s 90s pop-rock singing, is the essence of Best Coast’s signature sound. In “Always Tomorrow,” their tone is as adventurous as ever and the sonic embodiment of a cruise down the beach. The production — which falls more under the hands of Bruno — is bright and sharp, which is a contrast to the lo-fi rock beats the band has previously presented in other albums.
The songs also mesh so well that it becomes hard to find individual tracks that stand out from the rest. The one track to shine is “For The First Time,” with its light timbre, dragged vowels and upbeat bass guitar that create a cheerful melody perfect for the album’s hopeful theme.
Overall, the album is a delightful listen with relatable, interpersonal conflicts wrapped in colorful melodies that make the album a decent comeback after five years.
Angela Silva is an Entertainment Intern for the 2020 winter quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.