Beatopia by beabadoobee | Album Review
reviewing the sophomore album from Philippine-British singer-songwriter
As the trend seems to be lately, Gen-Z artist, Beatrice Laus — professionally known as beabadoobee — skyrocketed to fame by captivating TikTok with the soothing berceuse of “death bed (coffee for your head” behind the emotional revelations of Powfu, which is derived from “Coffee” by beabadoobee. Aside from the TikTok sound, this is my introduction to this artist, so I’m excited to uncover what Beatopia has to offer.
From its intro track, “Beatopia Cultsong,”Beatopia is framed from a younger perspective, seen through the repeated line that chimes in through a conglomeration of sounds that can only be described as nostalgic ambiance: “Is it me or recently time is moving slowly?” This isn’t so much as framed as a question as it is a declaration aided by wind-chimes, tambourines, and floral, floating synths. Generally, it is children or younger adults that think time tends to move slowly and as they age, time moves faster. The frame of reference expands and therefore, shrinks the mundanity of eventless time.
Beatopia benefits from this younger perspective as the events of a teenager/early-20-something are amplified in magnitude as the artist dedicates an almost melancholic dramatism to the events one would expect someone of that age to experience — relationships, depression, grief, and insecurity to name a few. The artist alternates between sad acceptance and hesitant apathy as she explores the emotions that come with indulgence, especially in not-quite-relationships, and introspection.
The album feels influenced by the early 2000’s with songs like “10:36” and “Talk” capturing the pop punk that was so prevalent along with the overarching sad girl music that lives somewhere between pop and R&B, and reminds me of someone like Colby Caillat or a higher-pitched Amy Lee. This alternative touch is powered by strong, yet airy and light vocals, often backed by basic instrumentation, whether that be drums, guitar, violins, etc.
While the selection is quite melodic and soothing, it doesn’t benefit from particularly crafty songwriting, honestly seeming primitive at times. This is largely redeemed through vocal ability and range, production (at times), and the nostalgia factor. As such, in part due to its length, Beatopia can be stale at times, seeming to last forever in segments before being jolted awake by the sudden crash of drums or guitars, or even just songs that are obviously better in quality.
If you weren’t listening particularly hard, you would think you’re listening to the same song several times in a row. There are few instances where songs truly stick out, and while, at times, that can be a good thing, when an artist with a limited precedent/repertoire lacks versatility, it doesn’t bode as well. Songs like “Ripples” and “the perfect pair” showcase vocals, melodies, and song structure much stronger than the mundanity of the last quarter of the album. It does so in a way that I was excited to continue listening before being ultimately disappointed by its underwhelming and indiscernible finish.
I’m interested in seeing how beabadoobee develops as an artist. This sad girl sound that has become so popular among indie artist can make or break an artist’s development as sometimes they fail to discern themselves from one another or even the genre itself. Consistency, of both quality and genre, is a large part of my rating for most albums and very few artist pull off a masterclass in both areas. SZA and Denzel Curry suffered in these areas in their albums in 2022 in my opinion, and Beatopia isn’t an exception. Much like girlpuppy, I think beabadoobee is almost there, the body of work just has to keep growing both in quality and quantity. However, “almost there” isn’t close to excellence.
Favorite Tracks: the perfect pair, Don’t get the deal, Ripples
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