Best Coast's trademark take on surf rock, distinguished by its languid vocals and sunny instrumentation, surfaces in full force on the band's third album, aptly titled California Nights. Though fuller-sounding and more psychedelic than the band's first two albums, the new LP doesn't stray from Best Coast's typical subject matter — love, longing, and those lonely, restless, California nights.
No stranger to the love song genre, lead singer and guitarist Bethany Cosentino spoke to The Week about her personal favorite tunes regarding matters of the heart.
1. New Order, "Temptation"
"My first boyfriend put this song on a mixtape for me when I was 17. It's not like a traditional love song, but it's still a really great song dealing with love. My favorite lyrics from this track are 'I've never seen anyone quite like you before / no I've never met anyone quite like you before' — super simple and straight to the point, my favorite kind of lyrics."
2. The Ramones, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
"We used to cover this song in the super early stages of Best Coast. Honestly, it inspired me to write [my song] 'Boyfriend.' I just love this song, and how simple it is — it's literally just about a guy telling a girl he wants to be her boyfriend. I can't think of anything more to the point and simple, but if a dude wrote this song for me, I would definitely be his girlfriend."
3. Buddy Holly, "Heartbeat"
"One of my favorite songs ever. It totally captures that feeling of new love in two minutes. It's such an effective formula for writing the perfect pop love song. And I love how this song is about his heart, and the way it feels when he sees or kisses his new love."
4. The Smiths, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
"I'm in the U.K. right now, and every time I cross the street, the lyric 'And if a double decker bus crashes into us / to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die' pops into my head. I think, 'Whoa, that's heavy as hell, but man, that is some legit love right there.'"
5. The Flamingos, "I Only Have Eyes For You"
"One of my old boyfriends bought me a 7-inch single of this song and I listened to it so much I think it eventually just stopped working. It's one of the best love songs ever written — and the idea that someone only has eyes for you, isn't that what we all want to feel?"
6. Dusty Springfield, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself"
"This song is about love coming to an end, but it's so epic and the lyrics are so real and intense, and it's so relatable to feel like you just don't know what to do with yourself when that love you are so used to is suddenly gone. Whoever this song was written about better have heard it and got down on one knee and proposed!"
California Nights is out now on Harvest Records.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Stephanie Talmadge.)
Listen to "California Nights" by Best Coast below:
More in this series...
- Sylvan Esso's 6 favorite songs from growing up
- Death Cab for Cutie's 6 favorite instrumental songs
- Lucius' 6 favorite songs for starting the day right