Beabadoobee, 2020’s Most Hyped Up Disappointment
review by Ariel Delorme
Beatrice Laus, who goes by the stage name Beabadoobee, is a Filipino-born British musician. She is a part of the “bubblegrunge” genre, which is defined as being a more “pop” version of “alternative/grunge” music.
Beatrice began her musical career in 2017 with her very first song Coffee, which earned her the attention of Dirty Hit Records, whom she signed a label with in 2018. She released 4 EPs from 2018-2019, after which she was shortlisted for the Rising Star Award at the 2020 Brit Awards and performed at the 2020 NME Awards after winning the Radar Award.
Early this year, though, her fame has risen to international levels due to the rapper Powfu using a sample of the chorus from her first song, Coffee, in his song Deathbed that went viral on the app TikTok. Beatrice was credited and received a platinum certification for Deathbed. Amidst the hype, she recently released her first album, Fake it Flowers, on October 16, 2020.
Like many, I came to know Beabadoobee from Powfu’s song, which I really enjoy. I listened to the original song, Coffee, which I thought was okay. I didn’t love or hate it. She has a soft, indie voice, almost as though she’s imitating a little girl, which I have liked in other individuals before. She songs are a bit similar to Mars Argo, although she uses a lot more instrument in her pieces. She also writes all of her own music and plays the guitar alongside her band, which I find merit in. I was excited for this album to come out, since there appears to be a lot of promising talent.
Regarding Fake it Flowers, Beatrice told i-D that “[it’s] pretty much my whole life in one album,” which are strong words but also don’t give much info. She says that she had recorded the demos for the album on her phone and then her phone by chance saved the demos as “Fake it Flowers,” and she just decided to use that because she thought it sounded cool.
Fake it Flowers track by track
I genuinely love her voice in this song; it’s completely melodic. The guitar rhythms are perfect. Sadly, I won’t be listening to this song in future. As sweet sounding as it is on the surface level, it is unbelievably repetitive. The guitars don’t change that much, Beatrice says the same words over and over, and I am beyond disappointed that this is what she chose to open the album with. It’s a standard pop song that she tried to give an indie girl spin to by singing with her high pitched, breathy voice. I had to google the lyrics because I can’t hear her over the instruments. It seems to be about an ex partner. Easily forgettable.
This one begins strong, with an intense drum and guitar. The instrumentals are soothing, to the point that I would listen to them on their own. They’re nothing original, I’ve definitely heard the rhythms before. Her lyrics are repetitive in this song as well, but not as much as the previous song and I find it less irksome.
I, again, had to google the lyrics again because I can’t hear her over the instruments. It’s about her meeting a person that she’s unsure about dating. I don’t find myself relating to the lyrics at all, there isn’t much depth to them. I find the song tolerable and I wouldn’t change it if this came on the radio. The song really isn’t memorable. I don’t feel my heart being touched, I don’t particularly want to dance. It’s relaxing and I wouldn’t mind it in the background while I do homework because it’s easy to tune out Beatrice’s voice, but I can’t find anything to truly love about this song that would make me want to put it on a playlist.
‘Dye It Red‘
The intro to this song strongly reminds me of In Bloom by Nirvana; I find the way she sings in the beginning similar, although once she hits the chorus it deviates to a much more bubbly, pop sing vibe.
This song is actually beginning to make me regret listening to this album. The music, again, is nothing terrible, but the lyrics get on my nerves. Peppered with choice lines such as “if you say you understand, you don’t,” “let me cut my hair and dye it red it I want to,” and “you’re not even that cute,” she sounds like the edgiest teenager.
Perhaps that is her actual market and I was in error thinking I would like her new material based on old songs she wrote. Maybe it’s because she’s 20 and is going through her rebellion phase a little late, or she just lacked true inspiration when writing lyrics. I think she is capable of better. I have heard her do better.
I am hoping Coffee was not her one hit wonder because I was genuinely excited about this album and this particular song is where my excitement started to wane.
‘Back to Mars’
This song caught me off guard as something different. The intro is incredibly gentle and her voice takes on a quieter tone. The lyrics themselves are quite short, there is no chorus. It’s about a friendship that she wants to be something more. It is approximately a minute and thirty seconds long and was intended as a sort of interlude.
I didn’t mind this one, although it felt kind of like it was part of a song and there should have been more. I did not get a conclusive ending at the song, she just kind of stopped singing and playing. Otherwise, I found it quite pretty and I suppose it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album.
I like to judge music based on what it makes me want to do when I listen to it and this particular song makes me feel kind of artistically inclined, like I want to draw things while I listen. Definitely one of her better pieces.
As negatively as I feel towards her music at the moment, I love her naming sense. The titles all sound so cute and they make me want to listen to them. Which hurts, because I don’t like most of the songs and it’s a cycle of disappointment.
This song has a particular grunge, lofi sound to it, which usually I love but I can’t hear anything that she’s saying. It sounds like there’s a layer of static between her voice and me and sometimes that works, but her voice is too soft to get across it and that just makes it frustrating. I made the effort to search up the lyrics again, and that was no help because they make no sense. I have no clue what this song is supposed to be about.
Maybe if I were under the influence of some sort of substance, this would be a nice song, because it does have a relaxing tune. It’s the sort of song that would be chill to listen to while high and you just want to experience the sounds, but otherwise this song just lacks substance in any way, shape or form.
The beginning of this song was somewhat dreamlike; there was a lot of synth present. When she starts to sing, I find her mopey, sweet voice reminiscent of Avril Lavigne for this track. I looked up the lyrics, once again, and they’re incredibly vague. The song is about someone she doesn’t want in her life for some reason.
She uses a unique variety of instruments for the sounds; I think I heard the xylophone and windchimes. In between her singing, there is an instrument riff where the percussion gets so intense, it sounds like aliens are landing. Her voice actually breaks a few times in this song when she attempts to sing beyond her vocal reach, and it truly hurts my ears. Maybe she thought that was a unique or cute thing to put in, but I would rather she had left it out.
Beatrice begins the song attempting the sing in a very deep voice here. She doesn’t have a deep voice at all, so it sounds like when a woman tries to imitate a man’s voice. This is a three-and-a-half minute song and there is no percussion for the first two minutes and it was way too noticeable. Percussion is often called the “backbone” of a music ensemble for a reason; it is necessary.
I still couldn’t really hear her, but the lyrics made no sense anyway. There’s a lot of repeating that she’s sorry for something, but nothing to genuinely relate to. Everyone is sorry about something, Beatrice, that’s too general.
This is the first song where I genuinely dislike the instrumentals; most of my prior complaints had lied with the singer herself. There’s nothing truly wrong with them, other than that it’s not to my taste. The music is very ordinary and just doesn’t draw me in. I found the tambourine sounds annoying, it didn’t really blend well with her voice. This was also another song where when I searched up the lyrics I didn’t know what they were about. She’s angry at someone who isn’t minding their own business?
Imagine someone who can’t sing at all but is very sure they can so they do so with a lot of confidence. That is what Beabadoobee sounds like in this song. She wasn’t great in the other songs, but this one really grated on me.
After my standard google search, since Beatrice doesn’t know how to speak up, this is one of the first songs where the lyrics kind of made sense. It’s a love song. I can’t relate to it, but at least I know what it’s about this time.
‘How was your Day?’
Beatrice’s voice is hauntingly beautiful in this song, surprisingly. She plays her guitar alone without her band backing her up, but it manages to work nicely. It sounds akin to Angus and Julia Stone’s music. I liked this song, it is easily the best on her album. It could have been made better with percussion, but it is still lovely as is.
It was the first song she did not mumble, either; I could understand everything she said clearly, and I could hear the emotion in her voice, which made it that much more impactful. That was what the other songs were lacking. I still don’t like the lyrics. She’s singing about missing someone, but I don’t find her poetic at all, which is a key element in music, I think.
I am a bit caught off guard with this song, heavy on the drums, after how calm the previous song was. She is back to being nearly unintelligible. This song has a lot more variety, though, than the others. Midway, she chooses to cut the music and sing mostly acapella before diving back in with the drums, which adds some interest. I have no clue what the song is supposed to be about. She’s upset about something, but doesn’t elaborate.
‘Yoshimi, Forrest, Magdalene’
As the last song on the album, I had hoped she would try to finish off strong. I had no clue what she was saying because she loves to sing quietly, but after a minute I worked out that she was just repeating Yoshimi, Forrest, Magdalene over and over. My expectations were already pretty low by the time I reached this song, but this track just made me realize people will really buy anything and call it great if you stamp a pretty face on it.
In conclusion, it was a painful forty minutes. Particularly for a debut, this was disappointing.
I really wanted to like the album. I even had youtube approved confirmation, with the likes to dislikes ratio! 6.7k people enjoyed the album as opposed to the 24 dislikes (one of which was me; apologies to the beabadoobee fans).
There was nothing of substance in the album. Usually when I turn to music, I like songs that make me feel understood or like I am learning about the artist in a sense. I do not believe that Beatrice put any of herself into this music; it’s really just noise. I find it laughable that she claimed this song was “pretty much her entire life.” Most of the songs were love songs and they were all incredibly vague. I couldn’t even hear her over her instruments, which I have no clue what that was about. We have the technology to bring her voice forward, was she trying to hide behind the instruments for some reason?
I know nothing about Beatrice from listening to this album other than the fact that she could stand to take singing lessons. She sounded nice in Care and How Are You, but otherwise her voice doesn’t have much range and she doesn’t know how to project. If she didn’t want to sing outside of her range or project, that would be irrelevant, but she tried on some of her songs, such as Emo Song, and it went poorly. However, I am in the minority of youngins’ who disliked it, though, so what do I know?