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The Only Place

4.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 15, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

The Only Place is the follow-up to the acclaimed Crazy For You and finds Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno maturing in both sound and perspective. This album finds front woman Cosentino transitioning into adulthood, with the feeling of uncertainty and self-doubt at the emotional center of the album. As with all of Best Coast's previous recordings, on The Only Place Cosentino handles all songwriting, lyrics, vocals and rhythm guitar, while multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno plays lead guitar, bass and drums. What's new this time is their decision to work with producer and composer Jon Brion.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Caroline
  • ASIN: B007HRXJVG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,057 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
For many of us, the summer of 2010 was curiously colored by a small town California girl named Bethany Cosentino. That was when her debut, Crazy for You, was released, a fun little record mish-mashing fuzzy surf rock with retro melodies and jangly pop hooks. It was a perfect summertime record with a refreshing lo-fi grimy sound.

Cosentino became an overnight guru on heartache, felines, and good ole Mary J. Despite that, though, it was hard to get over the feeling that the music was made by someone whose hair was perpetually unwashed.

All this set the stage for the release of the band's sophomore set, The Only Place. This record introduces marked changes for the band. Overall, it's a mixed bag. Cosentino certainly still maintains a penchant for writing simple pop songs that are short, catchy, and to the point. Barely a track breaches the thee minute mark. What's changed? Evidently Cosentino snatched a bottle of conditioner and trimmed those bangs, because The Only Place sounds much sleeker, cleaner, and sexier.

John Brion's production has enhanced several key elements. The most notable beneficiary is Cosentino's voice. It is much richer, cleaner, and syrupy sounding, which in turn allows her personality to shine through even more clearly and radiantly. She's come a long way from the days of early singles like "Sun Was High (So Was I)," which was such a muddled mess that it wasn't easy to pick out her vocals from the background instrumentation. Now, tracks like "Last Year" feature a beautiful aria from Bethany at the end. The closer, "Up All Night," may be the best track in this collection. Her tale of lost love and heartbreak tugs at your heart strings like no other song in her catalog.
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Format: Audio CD
Weed, boys, breakups, hang outs, dreaming, staying up all night, cats and California. These are the things Bethany Cosentino, the singer / songwriter / guitarist behind Best Coast, sings about on her records. She plays guitar and arranges songs like Liz Phair did when Liz Phair was the coolest woman alive and, these days at least, Cosentino sings an awful lot like Neko Case - if with less twang and howl. And when Cosentino joins up with her single Best Coast cohort, multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, they make very hip music videos, play very hip shows, say very hip things, wear very ironic T-shirts and, in general, personify the fake-glasses-wearing portion of today's youth generation (you know: aloof, stoned, insincere, jaded, contrarian and ... well ... largely happy).

For their much anticipated second record, titled The Only Place (a nod to Cali, notch), Best Coast have tapped indie super producer Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Of Montreal, etc.) to help out with all-things-studio related. And while Brion's history would imply that the sound we heard on 2010's incredibly listenable Crazy For You would be here blown up into something more elaborate, that's not the case. Sure, there are some strings on tracks like "My Life" and all the vocals and guitars are now perfectly recorded. But, if anything, the sound of The Only Place is maybe even more lean than that of Crazy. The slight garage growl appeal is mostly gone, but the surf pop moods still hold strong, as does the low-key indie rockiness.

My first reaction after hearing The Only Place was "Dang, that was obvious. Not in a bad way, but not really in a fun way, either. I thought I was going to be getting smashed on the porch and playing this record over and over again all summer, but it's not that kind of record.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I see lots of complaints about how this album is not as raw as the original Crazy For You album, which I understand, the very grimy old sound as if it was recorded 50 years ago was appealing and made the album one of the best I had heard in some time. However, just because the production quality went up, I won't cast this album aside for sounding a bit more hi-fi than its lo-fi predecessor.

Now that this is out of the way, to the actual album itself. When I first heard "The Only Place" title track on SiriusXMU a few months ago I was transfixed. I found it entrancing and a perfect anthem for California, it made me yearn to be there, to be in this wondrous place where life sounded superb, even ideal. I had to have this album the second it came out, and the vinyl arrived at my home on the day of release, allowing me to listen to it with the warm hum it deserves. The album from beginning to end, not just the title track, was an anthem to everything California. Love, Life, Work, Play, everything that makes California the ideal place is brought to fruition by Cosentino's wondrous and original voice.

If you are clinging too much to the lo-fi of Crazy For You, this album will not be good for you, go and pick up Green Day's Kerplunk instead. If you feel that you are ready to allow a band to evolve as they continue to make music, this will be a treat for you.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First, I came upon Best Coast AFTER the hype and was curious... after seeing them on Letterman I was impressed with the catchy new wave country psych hooks. I forgot about them but a bit later "The Only Place" was released and I was HOOKED. Bethany has the VOICE and Bobb and Co. create a wonderful pastiche to all things Spector, Buddy Holly and Beach Boys heartache while at the same time staying PSYCH current. These songs stick like glue inside your heart and brain without becoming trite. Well done!
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