Beabadoobee- Beatopia (Dirty Hit)

Gen Z icon, Beabadoobee,  invites you into her  lucid dream in her spellbinding new album, ‘Beatopia.’ Liberated from genre restraints, this record takes the listener on a cathartic trip into the multifaced recesses of her world, between dreaming and waking, dissonance and clarity, confession and defiance, reflection and triumph. Beatopia is a celebration of the wonders of self-acceptance.  

Beabadoobee- Credit Erica Kamano

Based on a fantastical yet deeply personal world that was formed in the imagination of the singer when she was seven, Beatopia was “ A place to  escape into.” The expansive, intricate world created by seven year old Bea in her drawings echoes the multitude of sonic terrains explored in this record.

Similar to Ken Liu’s ‘Paper Menagarie,’  Bea has breathed life back into this  childhood world.  A part of herself that was once hidden and laughed at by her “d*ckhead” teacher is now celebrated like a butterfly bursting from its sonic chrysalis. 

Bea said, “I think that people can overthink albums If the same artist is writing the album, every song could sound completely different – but if it comes from the same heart, then it’s part of the same thing.” Despite the range of influences present in this album, it is remarkably cohesive.

The 90s slacker rock aesthetic of 2020’s Fake it Flowers is built on in Beatopia, blossoming into a more evolved sophisticated soundscape than ever before. The album takes the listener on multi-dimensional trip through the different terrains of her world, from fuzzy rock to psychedelia, bossa nova  to grunge, OPM influenced classicism to Midwest Emo,  losing none of that celebrated raw honesty  and talent that saw her winning the NME 2020 Radar Award where she famously said, “There should be more chicks on stage.”

Throughout the album, Bea’s voice has that honey-dripped glaze of contemporaries such as Phoebe Bridgers and the intimate confessional tone of Elliot Smith, with the creativity of Björk and narrative charms of Kimya Dawson, all cradled in a smoky bed of 90s grunge and acoustic strings.

Heavier, more anthemic slacker rock tracks like ‘ Talk’  with its hazy pentatonic riffs act as a bridge between her first album and her second, keeping that frayed 90s pop punk energy up for her core fans and juxtaposing it with her rich, witty lyrics like, “We go together like a gum on my shoes,”  echoing the droll romantic observations of Punk Poet,  Dr John Cooper Clarke with lines like “I wanna be  your vacuum cleaner/ Breathing  in your dust,“ from ‘ I Wanna be Yours’ which was covered by the Arctic Monkeys in 2013.

Cooper Clarke and Bea could both be considered punk poets and the voice of their respective generations, echoing their dark witty inner monologues and world-weary reflections. Bea said, “I want (listeners)to feel less alone with their feelings … to understand that things happen for a reason and make you who you are today.” Tracks on this album go from introspective to confessional, defiant to celebratory, accompanying the listener though a full spectrum of emotions.

The dream-like tone is set from track one; ‘Beatopia Cultsong,’ which is the perfect hypnotic track to accompany you on your summer trip. Windchimes and angelic ethereal harmonies soar over steady acoustic riffs reminiscent of Lemon Jelly’s Staunton Lick, instantly placing you in a warm childlike haze , with twinkles of distortion and echolalic chants asking if time is moving slowly, all framed by muffled voices that could be heard from the womb; distant and dissonant , but comforting and safe. That search for clarity is reflected in the occasional buzz from an FM radio trying to make sense of noise like an alien trying to tune in from another planet. Bea said that she wrote ‘Cultsong’ in one night with her friends. As Bea puts it, “We were all just getting f*cked up, but we were so Zen and chill. And we were like ‘Let’s just write a song right now!’ We were just all there chanting this intro music, playing bongos, and it was so trippy.”

‘10.36‘ encompasses heavier pop punk licks and is familiar territory for Bea with The Smashing Pumpkins style dirty riffs and echoes of Avril Lavigne in the soaring anthemic chorus, ending with the percussive “I don’t want to” rebel cheerleader chants that you could sing at your next protest. ‘10:36‘, again, shows Bea as her true most vulnerable self, detailing her dependency on human contact to get to sleep. There is even an open therapeutic, spoken bridge expressing her worries and the track is named after the time it was finished.

Sunny Day has R&B vibes while See You Soon is utopian dream pop with its stunning layered harmonies, enhanced by the delicate vulnerability of her voice. Bea uses her voice as a different tool in each piece, sometimes creating defiant and sassy tones and sometimes reflecting her inner confessional world. Layered, and deeply melodic Bea said ‘See You Soon’ is meant to make you feel like you’re tripping….I want it to sound like a breath of fresh air like a realisation of some sort.”

‘Ripples’ starts with dazzling classical violin arpeggios, reminiscent of the violin that Bea played as a child, showcasing the full range of her influences.

The Perfect Pair’ has a bossa nova vibe while, ‘Love Song‘ is one of the most achingly beautiful songs on the LP, recalling Bea’s acoustic origins and is elevated with stirring violins and the twinkle of piano keys, echoing the rain outside her bedroom window – it’s just stunning…singing of love and longing in intimate cinematic style.

Pictures of Us‘ was co-written by Matty Healey from the 1975, who added vocals to the multi textured piece. You can hear him balancing her voice perfectly. This is a track of ethereal harmonies, opulent ornamentation, soaring anthemic choruses and existential lyrics.

Tinkerbell is Overrated ‘was recorded with Pink Panthress and sounds like it could soundtrack a video game with its hyperpop influences and staccato rhythms and the title is another example of Bea’s droll Cooper Clarke style humour.

The final song, You’re here, that’s the thing,’ has an elegant witty lounge singer vibe, giving a sense of her more sassy and powerful side.

The fourteen songs on the album traverse a full spectrum of emotions and genres making the listener feel like they have been on a cathartic journey. When asked at Glastonbury, about what she wanted people to get out of the album, Bea said. ‘Sonically I want people to feel like they have been on a massive trip and if they come out of it feeling like they were in some kind of lucid dream, then I’ve done my job.” So wrap yourself in the warm hazy world of Beatopia. This is probably the soundtrack to your summer. Enjoy your trip!

Beatopia is released on 15th July via Dirty Hit.

https://www.beabadoobee.com/

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