California Nights is Best Coast’s latest album after their debut album “Crazy for You”, the mini album titled “Fade away” that attempted to reposition their lead singer, Bethany Cosentino as a stripped down singer and songwriter. Their third album was titled “The Only Place”, was released in 2012. Their latest album lays emphasis on her distinct voice that is radio friendly: some of the tracks on this album sound like 90s alternative rock.
This album, “California Nights”, is their third full album and is also their debut producing with a major label. California Nights sound is collectively arena-friendly: the sound can be slightly compared to Paramore in the manner in which they blend pop and punk music. This album is Best Coast’s make or break album, their previous two full albums were heavily borrowed from the 60s and 70s music, this one is their 90s album. California Nights has twelve tracks, and you can easily hear Cosentino showcasing her powerful voice that seems to be growing in confidence since the group’s first album. The progress of the lead singer coupled with the overall sound of this album makes this record their most serious project yet.
The title track is the longest track on this album: the song presents a much-needed break between power pop music and anthem-like choruses that are evident in this record. California Nights contains muscular rhythms, hooks and guitar than their previous works. The album is intimate with intricate sounds that will transport the listener to another dimension. One song that caught my attention is “Jealousy”. It is a song filled with personal revelations about a relationship that is on the rocks. The song has a catchy chorus of Sha-la-la-las with Cosentino constantly pleading to get an answer from a nameless individual. She asks, “Why don’t you like me?” an answer to that question will turn her desperate situation from bad to worse.
Other tracks on this record include, “heaven sent”, “feeling OK” and “fine without you”, these records have a 90s grunge records appeal.” In my eyes” and “fine without you” turn Cosentino’s voice into a pop punk sound. Cosentino channels Brody Dalle or Courtney Love in “fine without you”, in the song, the word “eventually” is pronounced as “ventually”. “Fading fast” is a song in this album that makes use of auto-tune and a vocaliser coupled with a heavy base sound like the codes of Muse’s “Starlight”, this song has all the ingredients for a mainstream rock and roll track. “Heaven sent” has a jangling intro but later explodes into a powerful track.
“California Nights” is not a typical Best Coast record, before the release of this album, the band was constantly criticized for sameness of their records, but they have since moved on from their comfort zones to provide a denser production. In this record, Cosentino loses her innocence in search of dynamism but this album shows progress and a willingness to change. It is a powerful record with catchy songs than the previous albums.