California Nights is a brighter, more sparkly, more sophisticated, more psychedelic Best Coast album across the board, embodying the rich lightness and stinging darkness of a California state of mind. The love stories Bethany spins on California Nights all detail the highs and the lows of relationships, similar to the juxtaposition of a the band’s native Los Angeles – a place tinted by candy-colored palm trees and pale blue skies while existing within the loneliness and desperation of waterless place. More than that, there is a literal meaning to the record’s title – Cosentino is a well-documented insomniac whose creativity spirals out in the early hours of the morning, allowing her to write, undisturbed, the finest album Best Coast has made to date.
BETHANY COSENTINO on CALIFORNIA NIGHTS:
If you have ever lived in California, you know what nighttime here feels like. You know what the sky looks like when those epic sunsets begin, and you understand that feeling and the way things change when the sun finally sets. In LA, or maybe just personally to me, when the sun sets – I feel like there is a large sense of calmness in the air, and I feel like everything that happened to me prior in the day, whether crappy experiences or good ones, at night, it all goes away and I sink deep into this different kind of “world.”
When we decided to name the record California Nights, it just felt right because there is not only a song on the album – one of the biggest, most different songs we’ve written – with the same name, but because I do so much of my thinking and creative work at night. It also ties in with the idea that, as natives of LA, Bobb and I know a lot of spots and places within and around the city that a lot of people don’t really know or care to know. There is a grittiness to Los Angeles that isn’t seen via “E! Live At The Red Carpet.” There is a darkness in this city that you don’t see unless you know where to look. I think that to an outsider, California, or more specifically Los Angeles, seems like it’s this amazing place with perfect weather and sunny skies with just the right amount of clouds and tall palm trees. And let’s face it, it kind of is – but there are also a lot of other things here — crime, homelessness, and some of the most spirit-crushing elements of the entertainment industry that outsiders never see. That’s a theme we very consciously decided to explore and play with when making this record. We related to the idea that things may LOOK or SOUND fun and upbeat, but they may not actually always BE that way – much like our songs.
Writing this album, for me, was a way of taking myself though a step by step journey of learning so much about myself and the world around me. By the end of it, I got to a place where I was able to come to terms with just how much I can control, and how much I can’t — with the dichotomy of fun vs. dark; happy vs. sad; crazy vs. sane; anxiety vs. calm; perfect vs. screwed up. I realized that I am, more often than not, the creator of my own anxiety and my own stress, and throughout this album, I talk to myself about that and challenge myself to cut the bullshit and just be okay with being okay.
I have definitely been the cause for a lot of my own problems in life, and this is something that I am 100% able to own up to and admit. I may not have been able to admit that 5 years ago, when I started this band at age 23, but I can see it now and I can address it, so I decided to try and build a record around that idea. I understand that no one and nothing will ever be perfect, but I also realize that THAT is okay and it’s just a part of life.
A lot of the writing for this record consisted of me getting to know myself again and remembering where Bethany ended and Best Coast began. I took a much needed step back and I was able to breathe deep for a moment and really focus on what I was doing. The end result of all of that, is California Nights. It’s about a journey, it’s about self acceptance, it’s about learning to let go, it’s about accepting the things you have no control over, it’s about dealing with life like an adult and at the end of the day reminding yourself that there really is no reason to be sad, and you have every right to feel okay.