Always Tomorrow

Always Tomorrow

Bethany Cosentino was always aware. “I knew I sang about weed; I knew I talked about cats a lot; I knew I rhymed ‘lazy,’ ‘crazy,’ and ‘baby’ all the time; I knew all this shit,” she tells Apple Music. “I was always in on it. But it was also who I was then.’” As the face and voice of Best Coast, Cosentino became well-known within indie circles for a distinct brand of very casual and very Californian bedroom pop whose lyrics felt like a direct reflection of her everyday life—glimpses of which she was quick to share via social media. But now, just over ten years into the life of the project, comes Always Tomorrow, a fourth full-length that also serves as an inflection point: After a long struggle with depression, anxiety, and crippling writer’s block, Cosentino made a breakthrough with the writing of the aspirational single “Everything Has Changed.” What followed was a period of major personal and creative growth, and of release. “All I can really do is put the message out there and hope that people relate to it or hear it and say, ‘I hear the difference,’” she says of the album. “I've gone through a lot, I've really worked hard on myself, and I would like to share the story with you. At the end of the day now, I don't really give a fuck anymore. If this record comes out and people want to say, ‘It sounds exactly like all her other records,’ so be it, I can't change that, but I really, truly know that this record is different, and I think it stands on its own.” Here, she takes us inside every song.
Different Light “My life has evolved in this way where I'm a lot healthier and I have legit coping mechanisms now; I've learned how to tackle a lot of the shit that used to swirl in my head for days on end. I think that helped me lyrically, because I look at the world now in this way where I'm just in acceptance of a lot of stuff. I think lyrically, it allowed me to get out of my own way and just write about things in a broader way. A lot of my songs—especially my lyrics—were very, very repetitive and were always talking about the same thing, because that was all that went on in my head. It was so much just doubt and anxiety and worry. Sometimes I wonder, ‘Well, what happens if I lose all of this and it goes back to the way it used to be?’ It's the pessimist in me still wanting to come to the surface.”
Everything Has Changed “I did [write this in a closet], but I feel like I should have clarified that it was a walk-in closet, so it wasn't like this little teeny-tiny dining closet. I like the idea, though, of people thinking I'm so psycho that I just locked myself in a one-inch closet to write a song. It’s the first song I had written out of a really, really, really long bout of writer's block and a super deep depression where I just didn't feel connected to any part of my life. I wasn't sober yet. I would seriously wake up every day and be like, ‘Fuck, it's this again.’ I don't even know what came over me, I just remember that day being like, ‘I'm going to go sit in my closet and I'm just going to try to write this song and see what happens.’ I remember that coming out of me and being like, 'Oh, wait. I really like this. I feel like I have something here.’ I was writing about this life that I didn't yet have, but a life that seemed within reach if I could get there. Then slowly, over time, I got my mojo back.”
For the First Time “It's post-breakup, but it's also a song I wrote about the clarity that I started to feel after I got sober. I think ‘For the First Time’ is really about feeling like you're in a place where you actually really are feeling good about yourself and your life and the work that you've done. You're able to look back on the past and not look at it with regret or ‘What the fuck was I doing?’ but like, ‘Okay, that sucked and it was painful, but I clearly needed to go through that to end up on the other side.’ To me, it's a song about recovery.”
Graceless Kids “When I was going through this writer's block period, I had reached out to [guitarist] Bobb [Bruno] and I was like, ‘Listen, I know we've never done this before, but would you be interested in writing some actual music and just sending it to me so that I can sit with it and see what I can come up with?’ This was one of them. One of the things was when I was writing to it, I heard there was this little instrumental breakdown where I was like, ‘It'd be really cool to do a spoken-word thing here à la The Shangri-Las, Blondie’—this music that I really like, but I've never in a million years felt confident enough to try something like that. When we were recording it, I had to literally make everybody leave the studio so that I could do that part in privacy because I was so embarrassed to do it. In the past, I don't think I would have taken a risk in that way, because I would have been so concerned with, ‘Well, what are people going to think? Are they going to think it's not Best Coast enough? Are they going to think it's weird?’ I was terrified of it seeming like a Taylor Swift spoken-word moment, so there was a lot of doubt in my head, but at the end of the day, I was like, ‘Fuck it. I'm just going to try it and see what happens.’”
Wreckage “‘Wreckage’ is another song that Bobb wrote the music to. We kept joking that it felt a bit like an Avril Lavigne song, but we also love classic pop—Bobb and I aren't afraid to just be like, ‘Yeah, we like Sum 41 songs.’ For me, it was the last song I wrote for the record, so I was in this place where I was like, ‘What do I have left to say?’ It was me battling with that side of myself that feels like I always have to say the right thing and I always have to have some relatable, perfect message, and then the other side of me that's like, ‘Who fucking cares? Just write what you feel. People will either connect to it or not.’ It feels like the old me and the new me battling with each other and trying to just be like, ‘Get out of your way and just write a song.’”
Rollercoaster “When I wrote that song, I sent it to Bobb and I was like, ‘Okay, this one is a little weird. I feel like we can take a lot of weird liberties with it. We can try to make it a little psychedelic, we can try to make it Oasis-y.’ I was also really inspired by the Madonna song ‘Beautiful Stranger’ off the Austin Powers soundtrack. I've always really liked that song. I got to play congas on that song and wind chimes and do all this weird percussion stuff that I've never gotten to do on a Best Coast song. It’s really about the rollercoaster of emotions that I feel like I've been on the last ten years of my life, and being thrust into this weird indie spotlight that I was in where people were very critical of me and very critical of my lyrics and my personal life. I was like, ‘Wait. Why do you get to criticize me? I didn't sign up for that.’ I think I wrote this one while I was still going through those feelings, because now I'm at this place where I'm like, ‘I don't fucking care what you think about me.’”
Master of My Own Mind “That song was a demo that I had written for California Nights, and when we were getting ready to go into the studio to start preproduction for this record, I came across the demo. I was in my kitchen cooking and it came on shuffle and I was like, ‘Wait. What is this song?’ For me, I was doing a lot of this type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy where you learn a lot of techniques about trying to control your thought patterns. One of the things I learned in that type of therapy was putting a number on my anxiety, like is this a 1 or is this a 10? For the most part, everything was usually a 1 because my anxiety stems from shit. It's like a weird ode to therapy and this type of therapy that I learned that really helped me navigate my anxiety. It’s taking this old Best Coast structure from this old song and rewriting it to be this totally new thing, which was really exciting. I've never done anything like that on a record before.”
True “I guess for me, what I was really always missing was just feeling this love and support from somebody that just felt very healthy and it didn't feel codependent and I didn't feel like I owed this person anything just because they wanted to love me and care about me. It's a song about realizing what love can actually look like when you're used to it looking a totally different way. I also weirdly wrote that song as a response to ‘Our Deal.’ The sequel, or the grown-up version of ‘Our Deal.’ It feels to me like the opposite of the relationship I'm talking about in that song, but sonically, it feels very similar because I wanted to do another '60s doo-wop-y slow ballad-y love song.”
Seeing Red “I finally understand the criticism that I used to receive, like, ‘This girl writes the same song over and over.’ In hindsight, listening back, I realize, I'm like, ‘Oh, I did write a lot about this idea of trying to make something work that seemingly didn't seem like it was working.’ I wanted to acknowledge and recognize that I feel like I was writing a lot about these unhealthy things and that I was also acknowledging my own recognition of the criticism that I had heard for years and years that used to really bum me out. I think now I'm in acceptance of it.”
Make It Last “Bobb sent me that one and I got really excited about it, because it really felt to me like I could write this anthemic song that you would listen to in the car and sing along to with your friends. The cool thing about having Bobb involved in the writing process is that what he came up with was so much more rock-heavy than anything that I would ever write, so it was really cool for me to sit and just write from this perspective of, ‘Okay, I can write in a tougher way and I can tap into this side of myself.’ This song is really about coming to terms with your bad habits and the things in your life that maybe aren't working for you and aren't serving you and how you actually put them to rest.”
Used to Be “This song in particular felt like a really good way to just end the record and let it drone out, but also to just say to everybody I'm not the person that I used to be. I think a lot of times people still want to address me as this stoner girl who's obsessed with cats and palm trees and wears sunglasses inside, and I'm trying to announce to people, ‘That isn't me anymore. If you don't like it or if you think, “No, you haven't changed that much, you still seem like the same person,” that's on you.’ I like myself now. I've had to go through a shitload of stuff to get to this place, and I'm happy to share the story with people and hope that they can relate it to their own lives.”


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