You have probably heard the old story of how the adolescent Bruce Springsteen reacted to his first taste of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” back in 1965. He described the opening seconds of the six minute masterpiece as “someone kicking in the door to your mind,” the rest of the song a shocking wake-up call to the scope popular music could reach, the redefining of a generation. Flash forward some forty odd years later and the Californian band Best Coast are treading in similar waters. Their lo-fi debut single “When I’m With You” from their Crazy For You LP has everyone talking, from indie hipsters to Bill Murray. Is the Best Coast song this generation’s answer to the legendary Dylan classic?
That may be a bit of a stretch. But the opening seconds of the song evoke eerily similar feelings. The song begins in a sleepy glide fueled by Bobb Bruno’s slow guitar strumming as Bethany Consentino conveys her sense of boredom with the world in her apathetic voice while slowly singing “The world is lazy/But you and me, we’re just crazy” fusing together in perfect psychedelic harmony. After the lethargic intro, the song accelerates into something replete with chaos and discord, but altogether harmonious as Consentino’s simple yet stunning vocals synthesize well with Bruno’s impressive surfer-rock instrumentation. While the single lacks the witty, gut-wrenching lyricism of Zimmerman’s revolutionary anthem, Consentino manages to say a lot in only a few not so fascinating words. Absent are the cunning metaphors and mysterious non sequiturs that seem to litter the recordings of some of today’s most popular artists. The message is clear. When I’m with you I have fun.
The true magic of the song is that it is able to capture the feeling of love without revealing as much or furthermore, ever saying the word. This all culminates towards the end up the song in a thundering fashion. The way in which Consentino sings “I hate sleeping alone” repeatedly is harrowing in its delivery, and certainly does more than drive the point across. We all know what it is like to sleep alone, but Consentino manages to capture this feeling of agony without coming across as too eager or passionate. It is precisely this lackadaisical attitude that permeates the song, so why stop now? Best Coast executes the task of creating a simple yet catchy tune with precision and by the looks of it, our grand kids will have at least something to admire when they look back at our generation’s accomplishments.