Album Review: beabadoobee – ‘Fake it Flowers’

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Released on October 16th, beabadoobee’s debut studio album Fake it Flowers is perhaps the perfect ‘sad-girl autumn’ soundtrack, that we didn’t even know we needed. The Filipino-born British singer has experienced a swift rise to fame since the release of her first track ‘Coffee’, and her subsequent signing by the independent record label Dirty Hit, who have signed popular artists such as The 1975 and Wolf Alice. beabadoobee, or Beatrice Laus, has also done her fair share of live performing, having supported the similarly unique artist Clairo on her 2019 tour, as well as with The 1975 earlier this year before their tour was cut short by the pandemic. However, following the release of Fake it Flowers she has announced her own headline tour across the UK and Ireland which (virus allowing) will take place throughout September and October 2021.

The twelve-track album features the artist’s trademark, almost nostalgic 90s grunge style, despite having missed out on the decade herself by just one year. beabadoobee’s raw recording style, especially heard on the softer acoustic tracks such as ‘How Was Your Day’, gives the album a feeling of intimacy, which can only be welcomed in a year that has been overwhelmingly defined by distance. Not only this, but the effortlessly cool artist once again manages to strike the unique balance of hard and soft sound that gives her music the overall impression of a dark daydream. This sound world that she creates is refreshingly unique in a world of increasingly commercialised pop.

“The effortlessly-cool artist once again manages to strike the unique balance of hard and soft sound that gives her music the overall impression of a dark daydream.”

Throughout the album, you can hear a strong influence from her label mates, The 1975. In fact, upon hearing the openings to the tracks ‘Worth it’, ‘Back to Mars’, and ‘Horen Sarrison’, you could easily be deceived into believing they actually belonged to the popular indie band. That is, of course, until the entrance of beabadoobee’s unmistakable vocals. Much of this similarity comes from her use of electric guitar and synthesizers which replicates the characteristic ‘electropop’ style of The 1975. However, the track ‘Charlie Brown’, which is named after beabadoobee’s comic strip tattoo, shows off the importance of punk and emo genres as ingredients in her music. This is primarily due to the screamo-style chorus of the song, which arguably comes a quite a shock given the artist’s shy demeanour in actuality.

Possibly the biggest ‘bop’ on the album is its lead single ‘Care’, which was released back in July of this year. The track effectively sets the tone for the rest the album with its empowering, almost anger-fuelled lyrics, coupled by a heavy drum beat to drive the message home. This mood is picked up again in ‘Dye it Red’, in which the lyrics express a similar sense of post-breakup freedom, and this is conveyed in the song as early as the opening line, ‘kiss my ass’. However, whilst many of the songs on the album appear to be inspired by anger and heartbreak, beabadoobee complements these with a number of love songs, which succeed in taking the listener on quite the emotional rollercoaster. A particularly special example is ‘Horen Sarrison’, the title of which is a spoonerism of the name ‘Soren Harrison, the singer’s long-time boyfriend. The sentimentality of the track is augmented by the addition of luscious strings which surprisingly complement beabadoobee’s generally darker, heavier sound.

“Whilst many of the songs on the album appear to be inspired by anger and heartbreak, beabadoobee complements these with a number of love songs.”

The most intimate, and perhaps my favourite, song on the album is ‘How Was Your Day?’. It is somewhat reminiscent of her breakthrough song ‘Coffee’ in that it features only vocals over oscillating chords on the acoustic guitar. However, this simplicity makes for a beautiful moment of calm amidst the heavier, more electric-based tracks. Despite the intimacy of the song, the message conveyed by the lyrics is that of feeling distanced and disconnected from someone and I think this is perhaps why it is so easy to connect with as we have all likely experienced this over the course of 2020. beabadoobee encapsulates these emotions in a really beautiful and sensitive way through this song, using her simple melody and heartfelt lyrics to express just one side of a long-distance conversation.

beabadoobee ends the narrative of Fake it Flowers with ‘Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene’ which is the artist’s self-confessed ‘loud and stupid’ song on the album, as she described it in an interview with NME. The title of the song is supposedly inspired by the names she intends to give her future children, which unsurprisingly happen to be as quirky as the artist herself. Both lyrically and musically playful, this track provides a playful end to an emotionally raw album. From start to finish, Fake it Flowers highlights beabadoobee’s obvious flare for song-writing, through which she transports us back around thirty years to a time of vinyl records, Doc Martins, and most importantly, no global pandemic. For this reason, I am hopeful that beabadoobee’s fans will have the chance to hear this original new music live in the near future.   

Featured Image: Album cover for Fake it Flowers via beabadoobee press release.

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