Let’s play some catchup.
2020 began with all the musical anticipation of a new year and fresh decade. Then, when COVID-19 initially struck the States, music became an afterthought as we watched major albums delayed and highly anticipated tours postponed into oblivion. Then music became a lifeline as we huddled indoors and waited for the world to end. We listened to “quarantine albums,” found comfort in online fireside or bathtub sessions, and began marking Instagram shows on our calendars as if they were actual concerts. Then, the George Floyd murder shook the world, and we needed music to cry to, to scream to, and, most importantly, to march and protest to. In recent weeks, as more of our economy has reopened (and virus cases have spiked), we’ve begun to get the first glimpses of what the music industry — or what’s left of it — might look like after the pandemic.
And we’ve only just crossed the halfway point of 2020.
That’s some heavy lifting that music has done, and maybe that’s why, as we enjoy the few breaths of fresh air (through our masks, of course) we have left before we all have to go back to our bunkers, it feels good to hear a handful of songs that remind us that it’s summer and that it’s okay to, well, feel good. Yes, life sucks, our country is a laughingstock run by a sociopath, we’ve lost loved ones (and will lose more), racial injustice remains as ugly as ever, and we’re all about five dollars away from being broke, but somehow we’re still here, and for a moment, at least for the duration of a song, that might be enough to warrant a nod, a smile, and a head bop.
If you’re in need of feeling good, singer-songwriter Bea Kristi (bka beabadoobee) has your back. The 20-year-old went from being a young talent with a handful of singles and EPs to her name to a viral star when Powfu sampled Kristi’s song “Coffee” on his single “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head)”, which blew up on TikTok earlier this year. For those (like myself) who are too old to make much sense of TikTok, beabadoobee’s latest single, “Care”, will be the song that has you absolutely clamoring for the rest of her studio debut, Fake It Flowers, which should be in our hands sometime this year. “Care” will draw Kristi lazy comparisons to artists like Snail Mail and Jay Som purely due to her age, but those comparisons aren’t entirely without merit. The single glows and begs for re-listens, already as addictive an indie rock track as we’ve heard in 2020, with hooks for days and an irresistible mix of sweetness and dismissal imbued in lines like “I don’t want your sympathy/ Stop saying you give a shit.” After a year as tumultuous as 2020 has been, there’s something appealing about a throwback rock song about being misunderstood and treated like an afterthought.
Yeah, we’ll take that right about now.
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