When she launched her debut album Faux It Flowers two years in the past, beabadoobee was already virtually well-known, because of the collection of soft-fuzz EPs that she’d launched within the run-up. That album obtained its title as a result of beabadoobee realized that she was attempting to develop into Ramona Flowers, the cartoon dreamgirl from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. If the world handled Bea Kristi a bit like a cartoon character, possibly she handled herself a bit that approach, too. However that sort of image-projection can solely get you to this point. There are nice songs on Faux It Flowers and on the varied EPs that beabadoobee launched earlier than and after that LP. However these data generally had a little bit of a rough-draft high quality, as if the songs have been written to match the persona as a substitute of vice versa. In that sense, beabadoobee’s sophomore LP Beatopia represents a leap ahead. The brand new report expands on the sounds and concepts of beabadoobee’s earlier music with out fairly ditching these previous sounds or that previous persona. It’s a woozy, fairly, accessible report, however there’s nothing cartoony about it.
In interviews, beabadoobee has talked about naming Beatopia after the dream-space world that she invented for herself when she was seven years previous. This was 4 years after her household had emigrated from the Philippines to London, and she or he’d drawn up an enormous map of this comforting faux world, which her instructor then posted on the wall in order that her entire class may giggle at her. (British academics might be assholes.) The music on Beatopia is its personal sort of world — a heat sonic bathtub filled with blurry guitars and muffled drum machines and sleepily murmured hooks. However there are sharp edges in that nice murk, and so they don’t all the time present up whenever you’re anticipating them.
There’s loads of lyrical escapism on Beatopia, however there’s some cold-blooded realism on the album, too. It’s there within the depiction of romantic relationships: “I do know you thought it was simply us/ I didn’t assume you’d fall in love/ You’re only a heat physique to carry at night time once I’m feeling on their own.” It’s there within the depiction of friendships, too: “Don’t know why I really feel this manner/ Treating all my pals the identical/ Haven’t had sufficient to do, however I’m not ignoring you.” These strains, it appears to me, are about not being the individual that you think about your self to be. They’re about fucking up and speaking badly and letting individuals down. At one level, beabadoobee assures somebody that her points are usually not this different particular person’s issues: “Once I’ve been a large number, it’s not your fault.” At one other, she asks why another person must be so sophisticated, echoing an Avril Lavigne hit that got here out when she was one 12 months previous. She would possibly as effectively ask herself the identical query.
Musically, Beatopia is as smooth and comforting as something that beabadoobee has but carried out. However the brand new album can be a bit extra bold, a bit much less predictable. She’s talked about how she felt too hemmed in by her personal established aesthetic when she made Faux It Flowers, how she already felt like she was previous that stage when the pandemic-delayed album lastly got here out. On Beatopia, she nudges issues in several instructions. With its rickety drum-loop beat and its synthy power-pop hooks, the one “10:36” provides me Leases flashbacks. Different factors toy with pastoral psych-folk preparations or lilting bossa nova rhythms. The textures are delicate however impeccable.
A few of the new collaborators undoubtedly assist out. beabadoobee wrote many of the album along with her guitarist and longtime collaborator Jacob Bugden, however loads of her British indie music friends present as much as assist. Black Nation, New Street’s Georgia Ellery provides swirling violins that add entire new layers to the sound. PinkPantheress, one other younger star with an aesthetic that appears ahead and backward concurrently, sings lush and complex harmonies with beabadoobee on the stunning deep lower “Tinkerbell Is Overrated.” The Beatopia credit embody individuals just like the 1975’s Matty Healy and George Daniel, Bombay Bicycle Membership’s Jack Steadman, and Cavetown’s Robin Skinner — big-deal British rockers from the micro-generation that arrived simply earlier than beabadoobee. However none of those collaborators ever overwhelm the report. They by no means cease it from sounding like the within of 1 particular person’s head.
In interviews, beabadoobee has stated that she actually needs to get into soundtracking movies, and Beatopia displays that. Many of those sounds may play throughout montages. Loads of these songs sound like montages themselves. These tracks aren’t constructed to dominate your consideration; they’re constructed to thrum softly within the background, to assist kind connections and to create a way of soft-focus grace. If something, Beatopia performs as an affirmation that beabadoobee isn’t going to develop into a pop star anytime quickly. The songs listed here are too inner for that, too heat and mellow and spacey. As a substitute, Beatopia seems like a promise. It sounds just like the work of somebody who will stick round, who will hold pushing and exploring. beabadoobee’s backstory received her loads of press, nevertheless it won’t be as fascinating as her future.
Beatopia is out 7/15 on Soiled Hit.