Some things just aren’t worth a fight. You have your thing, I have mine — if we can agree that Creedence Clearwater Revival and Breaking Bad kill it, then let’s get burritos. I spend good chunks of time arguing for and against music, both because it’s fun to do quick Rock, Rot & Rule ragging and because I think certain things merit attention and discussion. Both strategies work for the great and the terrible: it’s a blast to argue over whether Creedence actually killed it, and it’s usually worthwhile to discuss culturally and aesthetically bankrupt product. But Best Coast’s Crazy For You is one album that isn’t worth the fight. You have your thing, I have mine, and this most definitely is not my thing.
If the difference between Best Coast and hazed-out pop revivalists like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Crystal Stilts, and Vivian Girls is one of degree, not of kind, then Best Coast have gone past pleasant nostalgia into some kind of mega-pointless, post-post-grunge echo chamber. I’m a fan of the Vivian Girls, even though I don’t think updating Shop Assistants tunes is an inspired idea. They’re good at what they do, and I like their sort of thing enough to get behind it. Meanwhile, if folks are clamoring for a sunny 2010 take on Belly, well, here’s Best Coast. Is it done well? I guess, but I don’t really care, because a sunny 2010 take on Belly is the last take for which I’m clamoring.
As such, explaining why Crazy For You doesn’t do it for me is like shooting fish in a barrel. Positive vibes aren’t enough to make up for something this effortlessly banal. This album is practically designed to offend me. I recently read an old Steely Dan interview in which they discussed the “harmonic naivety” of their first few albums. If those albums are harmonically naïve, what’s an appropriate metaphor for Best Coast? Harmonically still-born? Also, an excerpt of the lyrics from “Goodbye”: “I lost my job / I miss my mom / I wish my cat could talk / Every time you leave this house / Everything falls apart.”
Thirty minutes of that sort of thing here. If whining and wishing that your cat could talk is your bag, well, here’s Best Coast. Now let’s get burritos.