Sunday, 23 November 2014

Album Review: Best Coast - Crazy For You.

This surf-rock American duo band, who released their first full-length debut “Crazy For You” in 2010, has you feeling like you’ve been lying in the sun in some cool shades, strumming a blue guitar without realising. It is a magical combination of soft, lazy indie rock, welded together by lead vocalist Bethany Cosentino’s calming and smooth voice. In particular, Cosentino word-paints in her tracks and it allows the whole sound of the album not to be too challenging to listen to.

An example of her easy vocalisation would be in the second track of the album, named after the title of the album itself “Crazy For You” (The oohs just after the first verse). The lyrics of this song can have possible meanings: “I can’t do anything without you//Can’t do anything with you//You drive me crazy but I love you//You make me lazy but I love you.” Was Cosentino in love whilst writing this song? “Maybe I’m just crazy//Maybe I’m just crazy//Maybe I’m just crazy//Crazy for you baby.”       Or is she just crazy? Either way, what I like about this song is that it admittedly tugs at my brain, making me think about a time when I’ve been in love with someone. After listening to it once, that major and high pitched melody never left me and it is still with me today, (but that’s probably because I’ve listened to it at least 70 times.)

I think my favourites off the album are the first, fifth and ninth tracks. ‘Boyfriend’, the first on the album, doesn’t just require a light listen – if you’re the type to fantasize about scenarios that you know are unlikely to happen in your life, then this song will probably affect you. The way Cosentino drags out the word ‘friend’ in the first line: “I wish he was my boyfriend” lifts you into this weird mode, almost making you wish “he” was your boyfriend too. Not only does clarity of meaning come out during this track, but a slight bit of ambiguity too. This is because as soon as you hear the first line, you immediately assume the whole song is about this guy that she really likes and wishes they could be together blah blah blah. However in the second verse she sings “The other girl is not like me//She’s prettier and skinner//She has a college degree//I dropped out when I was 17.” This shows how Cosentino not only feels slightly jealous, but insecure. I would happily swap looks with her any day, but that’s my view.

‘Summer Mood’ is the fifth song on the album. It has a very laid back, easy sound and the harmonies are on point. Despite its name, you can listen to this song in the coldest of weather and still believe it is summer - provided you have your eyes closed - because of the moving and slow-ish melody. It actually makes me feel as if I am walking by the sea, towards the orange setting sun in the album cover.  In addition, the song is only a small 2 minutes and 25 seconds long and many people would say that that is a negative thing, but I’ve come to appreciate short songs because they don’t allow the song to become boring at any point. You listen, you love it, and then it finishes. No regrets. There is no “I love that bit but this bit kinda drags out a bit too long” etc.

Lastly, ‘Bratty B’ the ninth song on the album has the oddest structure, but that’s what I like about it. There’s only one verse and then it breaks into the only chorus. After that Cosentino just repeats “I miss you” and then it finishes. It’s actually shorter than ‘Summer Mood’ which makes it even more perfect. Instead of “You listen, you love it, and then it finishes. No regrets.” It’s more like: “You press play. You love it. It’s over. You feel content.” ‘Bratty B’, for me, incorporates the quality harmonies, melodies and rhythms and just the completeness of Cosentino’s voice that basically sums up the whole album.

So that’s about it. I can’t find a fault in this album and if you’re interested in some velvet perfection of indie rock, then have listen to Best Coast’s “Crazy For You” album. You won’t regret it.

 ~Written by Zoe Thompson.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Sigmar Polke exhibition - Tate Modern

I went to see Sigmar Polke at the Tate Modern! It was by far the most interesting and enjoyable time I think I have ever had at an art gallery. His works are absolutely beautiful, and it wasn't only the pieces themselves, but the background behind it! For example in the 1970s Polke did a lot of travelling to places like Afghanistan, and he was taking a lot of hallucinogenic drugs, so all of his art work in that period of time was very odd and slightly messed up. It was so intriguing and beautiful. Some of his work was done on A5 pieces of graph paper using crayon or ink. I think my favourite room of the entire exhibition was the 'Modern Art' room because it was so pretty. There were pastel colours and hot bright colours, I loved it! I just really came to appreciate art after that exhibition. The history, the beauty and the simplicity. Sigmar Polke, if I may say, has definitely moved into my top favourite artists. Pics of me afterwards and my favourite works of his. (I couldn't find all of them unfortunately.)
Sigmar Polke (1941 - 2010), Mu nieltnam netorruprup 1975 , Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), © The Estate of Sigmar Polke / DACS, London / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
"Mu nieltnam netorruprup", 1975  
Sigmar Polke. Raster Drawing (Portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald), 1963
 "Raster Drawing", 1963

"Plastik-Wannen", 1964
"Girlfriends", 1965/66