I first discovered Beabadoobee when she was a humble acoustic solo artist early last year as she opened for The 1975 for a small show. And with most opening acts, you’re not really in the mindset to listen, let alone to one girl with an acoustic guitar trying to hype up 600 people for one of the biggest indie/pop bands of the decade, but something about her really struck a chord with me. It may have been the unique use of alternate guitar tunings, giving a somewhat exotic feel to her songs, which is missing in a lot of mainstream bands and artists these days, or her beautiful vocals sprinkled superbly onto her songs. One thing that I thought was quite bold was despite being a relatively unknown artist, whilst being humble to her audience listening to her, she had banter, and attitude which really made her stand out as a support act.
After I came home that night, I went straight on Spotify to find her work and discovered her EP’s Lice and Patched Up. The latter featuring the brilliant bedroom pop ballad Dance With Me, and rocker tune If You Want To. Instantly I was hooked, simply brilliant songwriting, with clear inspiration from people like Elliot Smith and Alex G, and already with those two songs I realised just the range of her ability to write. Her lyrics are something that really resonates with people today, including myself. Being just seventeen when writing at this period of her life, the struggles of being a teen is obviously something unanimous that we all go through, the struggles with love and mental health issues such as depression, self image or even insomnia, Bea beautifully manages to encapsulate all those feelings through her music and it makes every listening experience feel so personal and intimate.
Later in 2019 she dropped another EP titled Loveworm which showed some fantastic sonic development, showcasing a more grungier sound, like the perfect progression from 2018s If You Want To. Loveworm contains the blissfully sad Disappear which even now I think is one of her best tracks. It also gave us Angel, a dark slow punk song, that’s instrumentation makes you reminisce about what life would be like if you grew up in the 90s, and if you were lucky enough to experience the music of the 90s, then Loveworm should take you right back. Loveworm isn’t all doom and gloom though, with You Lie All The Time and Apple Cider, being upbeat indie songs to dance around with your friends at the party where half your mates are on the floor spacing out from the stench of cheap beer sticking to any and everything. It’s the quintessential teen soundtrack.
Later in 2019 STILL she treated us to the lead single from her EP Space Cadet, with She Plays Bass, and goodness me, 2 years and 4 EPs with ridiculously unique sounds, honestly, the production on Space Cadet is astounding. Every instrument pops out and you can appreciate each layer. She Plays Bass has a fantastic bass riff, a wonderfully cute message within the lyrics and is just such a glamorous indie banger. And it doesn’t stop there, the opener Are You Sure is a phenomenal way to kick off an EP with such a natural progression from the sound from her previous efforts. The wonderful ode to the likes of Pavement with the song I Wish I Was Steven Malkmus, which just gets more addictive the more you hear it. The title track is the perfect closing theme to a coming of age movie, better yet it’s actually the EPs closer so listening to it from start to finish feels like a real cinematic experience, and you might just be walking to the shops, it doesn’t matter, Beabadoobee makes you relish every moment of your life. The unsung highlight of the EP for me is Sun More Often. It feels like a song from Loveworm, but with the fantastic production of Space Cadet, the alternate guitar tuning and open chords just make you feel like you’re in a saucepan with heroes such as Pavement, Mac DeMarco and Ariel Pink. It was around this time Bea announced her live performance lineup, and how her music would be more like a band than solo artist, both sonically and creatively, to which I will now dub as, Beabadoobee: The Band. Which by the way, are all fantastically talented musicians who you should check out as well.
Since her EP’s, after waiting long enough, we have been granted with the most wonderful news of Beabadoobee’s debut album Fake It Flowers, due out October 16th, as well as being treated to singles during the lead up to the album. It all went off with the first single Care, initially teased on her instagram in August of last year, devoted fans finally got the chance to hear the song in full and with all its glory. The near perfected sound of Space Cadet has been finished and the production of Care is delicious. The melody being crazily catchy, and the guitars making you involuntarily want to head bang. It’s crazy hearing how her sound has evolved from the days of her earlier work such as Lice and Patched Up but it’s fantastic to see young artists be able to develop their styles the same way that we consume art, by jumping onto something new as soon as something ends, whether that’s intentional or not. Beabadoobee is a very modern artist, but knows exactly how to pay homage to her heavy influences. With the likes of the next singles Sorry and Worth It, we really get to wrap our head around the sounds we’re to expect when the new album drops next month, and I cannot wait.
It’s wonderful to see a young, non-male, non-white artist get recognition and thrive within the music community, keeping things fresh but having a distinct sound that gets you nostalgic for someone you may not have even known about for very long. Beabadoobee is helping to revive the sounds of the 90s to a brand new audience and it’s brilliant because the sounds of the 90s rarely get a modern look in, due to the height of the demand for 80s new wave, pop and rock soundscapes. People know about Oasis and Nirvana, but delving into the deeper sounds of the 90s, bands such as Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Porno For Pyros, Sonic Youth and Pavement that ultimately become the hidden gems to young music consumers that really should be household names and instantly recognisable sounds and brilliantly, Beabadoobee is making that happen. People are finding a new found love for this modern grunge sound, and so people inevitably want more and actively go out to listen to their new favourite artists influences.
The combination of that oh so angsty grunge sound is deeply complimented by longtime friends and collaborators Bedroom, who pair the evocative instrumentations with retro filmmaking, shooting their videos on film with Super 8 and Bolex 16mm cameras, and also utilising a lot of homemade props and sets, a lot of hand drawn elements that feel like they could have been made in, well a bedroom. The entire atmosphere of Beabadoobee’s world is so unequivocally raw and vibrant, the performances, the music and the videos, there is no stone unturned with her, and it’s pretty awesome to see.
If you’re in the UK you can see Beabadoobee on tour next year, or catch her at Reading and Leeds festival 2021. The bottom line here is that Beabadoobee is here to stay, and is here to get big. It’s pointless to not delve into her music because you’ll be in for the ride regardless, just you wait. Prepare to listen to 4 insane EP’s, witness a lot of hair colours, and experience album #1 as it unfolds. We can’t wait to see just how much Bea will grow in the coming years with the release of Fake It Flowers, and can’t wait to rock with her for many years to come.
Top tracks (so far) are Coffee, If You Want To, Disappear, Apple Cider, She Plays Bass, I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus, Care and Worth It. Catch her on Spotify, Apple Music, and Instagram (@radvxz), because you will not be disappointed.