Beabadoobee - Beatopia Music Album Reviews

Beabadoobee - Beatopia Music Album Reviews
Inspired by a childhood dreamworld and the pop radio hits of the 2000s, Bea Kristi’s second album is simultaneously heavy and light, dense and playful, melodic and dissonant.

Beabadoobee’s 2020 debut Fake It Flowers captured Bea Kristi as an angsty, impulsive adolescent, with the disaffected college rock hooks and box hair color to match: “Let me cut my hair and dye it red if I want to,” she bellowed over thick and dissonant guitars, on a song that began with “Kiss my ass.” But Kristi—who recently turned 22—is a different person now than the teenage singer who screamed about throwing it all away. When she finally toured the album, “I almost felt like I had to force myself back into the Fake It Flowers world,” she said. On Beatopia, Kristi moves forward by retreating backwards, finding a brighter sound in the sanctum of her inner child.

The title of her new record comes from the name of an imaginary world Kristi dreamed up when she was about seven. As a child, Kristi immigrated with her parents from Iloilo City to London, where she felt like an “alien” in a majority-white school. She found a much-needed escape in the invented alphabet, people, and places of Beatopia, but she blotted out her fantasy land after her teacher and classmates found—and roundly mocked—her grand escapist vision. It wasn’t until recently that Kristi rediscovered her lost world. Maybe it was the psychedelics she started taking in her early 20s, or maybe time had healed some deeper traumas, but as Kristi began drafting her follow-up album, her forgotten kingdom started to come back.

To an outsider Beatopia might sound disjointed, but any fellow child of early ’00s pop radio will feel intimately at home with Kristi’s mix of adult contemporary and guitar-driven bubblegum pop. If her first album was an homage to the decade before her birth, all slanted guitars and screams and Sub Pop cosplay, this one is a send-up of the soft rock of her actual childhood: “Sunny Day” is relaxed and radiant, a bubbly echo of Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson, and Natasha Bedingfield. Paired with Kristi’s sly, lythe vocals, the shimmying bossa nova of “The Perfect Pair” is a vision of an internet-age Corinne Bailey Rae. “Talk,” with its compact percussion and smudged vocals, takes the canned one-hit-wonder pop-punk princesses of the 2000s and cranks up their levels. It’s an inspired and nuanced take on an era flattened by nostalgia: Kristi’s riffs are more explosive and her lyrics are stranger (“See You Soon” is supposed to make the listener “feel like you’re tripping on shrooms,” and her sighs of “I’m deteriorating” are an apt approximation). Where her source material is often facile or vindictive, these songs are restorative; “Fairy Song” sounds like a self-care checklist, with gentle reminders to drink water, eat food, and call your brother just to check he’s okay.

If Beatopia the universe was a solitary creation, Beatopia the album is a far richer text, buoyed by a bevy of collaborators that help flesh out Kristi’s world with demonic-sounding backing vocals (“10:36”), baroque orchestral flourishes (“Ripples”), and towering guitar solos (“Talk”). The personnel list reads like a freshman class of burgeoning British pop stars—Georgia Ellery of Jockstrap contributed string arrangements, while TikTok drum’n’bass revivalist PinkPantheress adds elven harmonies to “Tinkerbell Is Overrated.” As on last year’s Our Extended Play EP, Kristi partners with labelmates Matty Healy and George Daniel of the 1975, but here their fingerprints are more visible: “Beatopia Cultsong,” the spacious overture that opens the album, echoes the 1975’s signature self-titled opening motif. On Beatopia, their contributions broaden her sound while at the same time making it less specifically Bea: The Healy cut “Pictures of Us,” with its Midwest emo-tinged guitar noodling, is a striking stylistic departure that feels a bit out of step, as if Kristi is doing her best 1975 impersonation. But the sentimental and sleepy closer “You’re Here That’s the Thing” is a perfect fit for her lithe voice, even if the smarmy sensuality of a line like “When the lights go down don’t say I didn’t warn ya/I don’t think that’s legal in the state of California” feels quintessentially Healy.

Kristi’s most prolific partnership is with her guitarist, Jacob Bugden, who co-wrote almost every song on Beatopia. You can hear their dynamic grow in real time on “Don’t Get the Deal,” with Bugden’s lower register serving as a perfect foil to Kristi’s featherlight vocals. As their voices meld into a harmonic duet and a “Maps”-inspired guitar solo crashes in, the Beatopia universe comes into focus: heavy and light, dense and playful, melodic and dissonant, all at the same time.

Beabadoobee is well-suited to imaginary worlds: Her lyrics are often more form than function, her words merely vessels for sounds. “I find words that don’t really make sense but fit perfectly with the melody or just feel nice to say,” she has said of her writing process. Untethered from the typical constraints of grammar and diction, Beatopia finds its own dreamlike logic. “Is it me/Or recently/Time is moving slowly?” she and a chorus of friends and musicians repeat, entranced, on her titular “Cultsong.” Try to decipher the verbiage—shouldn’t it be “time has been moving slowly”?—and you’ll miss the point entirely, just as her classmates and teacher did 15 years ago. But let the sentences flow as just another instrument, as something nice to say and nice to hear, and you might get a glimpse at Beatopia.

Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Beabadoobee - Beatopia Music Album Reviews Beabadoobee - Beatopia Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 25, 2022 Rating: 5


Post a Comment