Best Coast (photo by Eddie Chacon, PR)
Every so often, a song or an album comes along that takes the form of a musical diary or even a therapy session. It’s common for artists to use music as a way to reveal personal issues, attempting to cleanse the mind and soul.
That's the case with Best Coast's latest release, Always Tomorrow. On the surface, it's an upbeat, driving album of sweet rock that brims with punk energy and soul-baring honesty. It's also the first release from the Los Angeles duo of songwriter, singer, and guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno since their 2018 children's album, Best Kids, and 2015's California Nights. Always Tomorrow, the band's fifth album, is a chronicle of Cosentino’s personal struggles, as well as a solid dose of guitar-driven, pop-inflected rock.
Cosentino, who has dealt with depression and anxiety, described Always Tomorrow to Consequence of Sound as a journey toward sobriety and "the story of a second chance." For Cosentino, the album is an examination of who she was during the band’s rise to fame, what she became through the ensuing years, and who she has become recently. She has described the period following the California Nights album as one where she felt creatively paralyzed and unable to write music.
She eventually forced herself to write, and that resulted in the song, “Everything Has Changed.” With that song, Cosentino began the road to Always Tomorrow, recounting that dark period and revealing the healthier state of mind she finds herself in now. Cosentino hasn’t shied away from talking about her addiction battles which fueled (and self-medicated) the early days of her success with Best Coast. But since November 12, 2017, she has been sober and her clarity today is the direct result of that decision.
“Everything Has Changed” is the life force of Always Tomorrow, and it kicks off a stretch of songs where Cosentino lays it all out on the table. From the song’s first line, Cosentino's struggles are clear: “I used to drink/Nothing but water and whiskey/Now I think/Those were the reasons why/I used to fall/Deep down in a hole." Clarity is achieved in the chorus. “Everything has changed.” Cosentino sings, “I like it this way/Everything has changed/I’d like for it to stay.”
The next song, “For The First Time,” drives home that point, via the freedom of that change. “Graceless Kids” addresses Best Coast’s fans and their dedication to what Cosentino considers a flawed “hero” – herself. “Wreckage” questions why she still experiences moments of feeling like a failure. “Rollercoaster” is an apt description of Cosentino's rough ride and “Master Of My Own Mind” aims at the difficult task of staying focused on the straight and narrow. The heaviness of the lyrics doesn't weigh the songs down one bit.
Best Coast's guitar-driven joy on Always Tomorrow is uplifting, laced with smart hooks and breezy arrangements that reflect Cosentino's optimism with her newfound life. Always Tomorrow is a personal journey of discovery. There isn't sunshine and roses that wait at the end of a dark journey or a blissful, happy ending. There is hope, however, and ways to conquer inner demons. As Cosentino has learned and has shared in her songs here, life is challenging and the road to recovery is a long one. It's natural to stumble, but as the album's title plainly states, there’s always tomorrow to try again.
Listen to a new FUV Live session with Best Coast on Monday, March 2, at 7 p.m. EST, on 90.7, also streaming online and available on demand.