The music of Bea Kristi is rooted in nostalgia. Ever since her debut single — the TikTok-approved sleeper hit “Coffee” — the British musician known as beabadoobee has paved the way for her Gen Z peers with soaring pop-rock that wouldn’t feel out of place in a ‘90s cult film. She smartly captures the adolescent journey of coming into one’s own: “Got this new blue-haired phase,” she sang on 2019’s “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus,” an ode to her personal hero, whose band Pavement broke up before Bea was even born.
But what happens when you’ve just turned 21, you’re well on your way to becoming your own generation’s alt-radio representative, and your sense of self still feels out of reach? Bea attempts to answer this on Our Extended Play, her new four-track EP (out June 23rd).
Co-written and produced alongside The 1975’s Matty Healy and George Daniel, Our Extended Play offers a refreshingly polished take on the resurgence of ‘90s and 2000s trends. Lyrically, it bridges that uncomfortable gap between being a teenager and a full-fledged adult, and the never ending search to pinpoint where you belong in the world. “I wanted to experiment on the sounds and sonics even more and the EP to me has a feeling of togetherness to it,” Bea said in a statement. “We’re all in this joined as one.”
While beabadoobee’s last release, her 2020 debut album Fake It Flowers, was more in the vein of Avril Lavigne’s pseudo-grunge, Our Extended Play levels up with an arena-sized sheen that never negates her artistry. Sticky hooks are a tenet of her music, and there’s plenty of those on the EP.
The jangle of “Last Day On Earth” — complete with a cheeky “shoop-do-badoo” — harks back to the golden age of MTV, and “He Gets Me So High” feels like a response to Tal Bachman’s similarly-titled 1999 hit in both sound and subject matter. Meanwhile, the sultry “Cologne” is driven by a staggering guitar riff that echoes early Strokes records, testifying to beabadoobee’s myriad influences and openness to experimentation. For an artist often pegged as the Michelle Branch of the 2020s, these sonic trials are welcome and often work in her favor.
But beyond its sugary exterior, Our Extended Play is beabadoobee at her darkest yet. “Last Day On Earth,” written shortly after the UK’s first COVID lockdown, envisions a universe on the brink of extinction: “You killed someone last night/And burned down a church,” she sings. “If it all goes wrong/And it looks like we’ll soon be gone/Then we should all just get along.” If you’re feeling lost or purposeless, Bea seems to say, you’re not alone — after all, even a coveted Brit Award nomination can’t save you from constantly second-guessing yourself.
One of the EP’s highlights is its sparkling closer, “He Gets Me So High,” which flips the tropes of traditional love songs, instead zeroing in on the negatives of being so enthralled with a partner that reality becomes distorted. What’s one to do when you’re so deliriously in love that you get tunnel vision and lose yourself in the midst of it?
While it’s easy to hear The 1975’s electro-pop touch here (including a vocal feature from Healy), the track also feels undoubtedly Bea, and it cements what she does best: giving trends of the past a clever and useful update. Our Extended Play comes from a place of sincerity, relying on familiar comforts without ever feeling out of date.
Our Extended Play Artwork:
beabadoobee 2021 Tour Dates:
11/01 – Washington, DC. @ 9:30 Club
11/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
11/04 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
11/05 – Boston, MA @ Royale
11/09 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
11/10 – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground
11/11 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
11/13 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
11/15 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
11/16 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
11/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
11/20 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
11/21 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
11/22 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
11/23 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
11/26 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
11/27 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
11/28 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
11/30 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
12/01 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
12/04 – Kansas City, MO @ The Truman
12/06 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
12/08 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
12/09 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
12/10 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
12/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE