This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
“It’s not that bad/And I have no reason to be sad/But I find a way/Almost every day to stay this way/ When will I change?” asked Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino nearly five years ago on the indie rock duo’s album “California Nights” (2015). Now, with the release of the band’s fourth record, the reflexive, poignant and above all hopeful album “Always Tomorrow” (2020), it is clear that Cosentino has finally found the answer she was looking for. As the title of the lead single “Everything Has Changed” suggests, change has come for Cosentino. According to her, “Everything has changed/I like it this way/Everything has changed/I’d like for it to stay.“
During an interview with the Daily, Cosentino explained that the album’s multiple reflexivities, as in the case of “When Will I Change” and “Everything Has Changed,” are partially intentional and partially the organic result of her songwriting style.
“I do a lot of self-referencing on this record. I’m going back to old lines, and I’m sort of keeping them, and I talk to myself a lot in this record … Some of the lines are meant to be tongue-in-cheek,” Cosentino said. “But I never really sat down and said ‘I need to answer those old questions that I ask myself.’ It just naturally kind of came out in that way … It’s very cathartic for me, so I think it makes sense that a lot of the stuff sort of ends up tying back together because it’s all coming from this same place of self-reflection.”
Since her early songwriting days, Cosentino has employed music as a method for coping with and confronting her problems — calling songwriting her form of “therapy,” and on “Always Tomorrow,” it’s clear that this is still very much the case. The album lyrics, which Cosentino wrote after deciding to become sober in 2017, demonstrate striking emotional maturity and self-knowledge on the part of Cosentino, all while maintaining Best Coast’s signature surf-y vibe. It’s an album that you can both reflect to and jam to, and it’s this duality of “Always Tomorrow” that makes it some of Best Coast’s best work yet.
However, Cosentino isn’t in it for the praise. One of the biggest lessons Cosentino has learned in the band’s 10-year, highly public career(the duo’s debut EP “California Nights” (2010) garnered mainstream success due to fortuitous internet attention) is setting boundaries between critics and herself.
“I think when you’re in any sort of position of having a public platform, you’re always gonna receive [criticism]. I think now I’ve developed a lot of very actual[ly] healthy coping mechanisms. It’s easier for me to digest in a way,” Cosentino said. “I also try not to pay attention to a lot of that stuff. I try to pay attention to what’s directly in front of me and the content I can release myself and things that I can do. At the end of the day, I make art and if I’m happy with it and I’m content with it and I’m proud of it, then that’s really what matters.”
Regardless, Cosentino is still excited for longtime fans to get a hold of the album and connect with it.
“The way in which you decipher it and the way in which you relate it to yourself — I’m totally cool with you doing that,” Cosentino said in regard to fans using her art as a tool for themselves. “I really think that [fans] will walk away with a message of hope for [themselves] because anybody who’s been around since the beginning can recognize that I’ve changed a lot and the band has grown in different ways, and I’m just excited for people to have it in their possession and to digest it and to relate to it.”
Following the album’s release, the duo is embarking on a month-long U.S. tour supported by punk rock group Mannequin Pussy. Cosentino mentioned that while the setlist will focus primarily on new tracks, there will be some “classic, old school BC songs,” that make an appearance.
“It’s weird when you get to a place where you have four records because you’re like, ‘Oh, okay, I have to somehow try to fit this all in one set,'” Cosentino explained. “It’s funny, when we were touring for ‘Crazy For You’ (2010), we were playing these big headline shows and we only had one record, so our sets would be so short. It was just like, this is all we have! And now we have an arsenal that we can go into and pick from. It’s a really cool spot to be in but it’s also really overwhelming.”
Whether you’re a fan who’s been around for the past decade or are just hearing about the duo for the first time, “Always Tomorrow” is an invigorating must-listen that proves Best Coast will continue dominating surf-rock for a long time to come. Best Coast will be performing on March 16 at Royale in Boston.
“Always Tomorrow” is available now.