beabadoobee delviers pure quality on new record Fake it Flowers
Ever since beabadoobee’s ‘COFFEE’ went viral on Soundcloud back in 2017, her career has skyrocketed. From being nominated for a BRITs Critics Choice Award to performing at the O2 Arena as part of The 1975’s tour to being sampled on a TikTok and Top 20 smash hit, beabadoobee’s career, though still relatively fresh, has been nothing short of exceptional.
With all these feats to her name, beabadoobee’s debut album Fake It Flowers has been hotly anticipated. Having become a figure emblematic of the surge and force attributed to Gen Z – particularly among teenage girls – Bea is keen to emphasise how the album is by the youth, for the youth. Specifically, it is a record “for girls to cry to and dance to and get angry to”. Covering experiences synonymous with coming of age, such as first loves (‘Horen Sarrison’) and teenage angst (‘Emo Song’), Fake It Flowers is a space for the younger generation to find their voice, albeit through Bea.
Perhaps most emblematic of this blueprint is the first single, and opening track, ‘Care’. Perfectly introducing Bea’s need to touch on the past, addressing how maybe it’s time I talked about it”, ‘Care’ functions much like an author’s note and sets up the personal dynamic of the records. However, by taking scuzzy guitars and distorted vocals and combining them with a glittery melody, you never notice how much Bea is in fact brooding. Something that you will find throughout the album, Bea’s strength comes in her ability to give vulnerability vigour.
Though combatting serious themes, Bea also encapsulates the fun and freedom of navigating the transition between childhood and adulthood. Take third track ‘Dye It Red’, for instance. With the oh-so-teenage angst opening line “kiss my ass”, ‘Dye It Red’ is a massive fuck you anthem wrapped up in the form of a cosmetic makeover. Afterall, there is a message for those who have tried to weigh her down: “I haven’t felt myself so comfortable, I’m not stopping”. In this situation, hair really is everything.
If lyrically the album is about Bea the individual becoming, sonically it is about Bea the musician becoming too. Whether she is navigating a raucously screamo embrace in ‘Charlie Brown’, or she’s laying her soul bare in ‘How Was Your Day?’, Bea fits the sound down to the ground.
Where other artists have a tendency to turn inspiration into reproduction, Bea demonstrates how to take inspiration from somewhere and to reimagine the sound. Best accomplished in ‘Worth It’, Bea exploits the very 90s way of building suspense as she pre-empts the outro in the bridge by singing “Don’t think this is worth it”. Accompanied by a scuzzy guitar tone, the song grows as it goes on, with the big finale revealing some effervescent drum moments. Though nodding to bands such as Pavement in her alt-rock composition, no song on the album feels like it’s been done before, and that’s quite something.
Choosing to close the album with ‘Yoshimi Forest Magdalene’ is the rowdy cherry on this grunge-infused cake. Recorded in one live take, with mistakes intentionally left in the mix, the song is rough around the edges. Bea has never been one to stick to the status quo or to stick to a pop template, and this song encapsulates this identity. Despite reaching new heights in her career every day, ‘Yoshimi Forest Magdalene’ is a recognition of her past and the assurance in her own image: she is not going to be one to succumb to desires of mainstream music or glossy record labels.
If Bea’s aim was to create a musical ode to growing up, she has gone above and beyond. Fake It Flowers is a record for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood, confused, or alienated. And, by that classification, that’s a hell of a lot of people. With catchy hooks, singalong choruses and stirring lyrics, Fake It Flowers is Bea’s most impressive work to date. Given that Bea is only just starting, what lies ahead for her looks phenomenal, and that’s what’s really exciting.
Listen to the brand new album from beabadoobee below: