(5 / 5)
Philippines born, raised in London, Bea Kristi began recording music as Beabadoobee in 2017. At just 20 years old, she has built a big fanbase with her output of confessional bedroom pop songs and exciting live shows.
Bea has toured arenas with labelmates the 1975, the USA with Clairo, headlined the sold-out Dirty Hit Tour, and released several acclaimed EPs.
Now she drops her long awaited debut long player, “Fake It Flowers” which Bea describes as a “female record” in the vein of indie’s torchbearers of female rage, like Alanis Morrissette and Dolores O’Riordan.
“It’s a record for girls to cry to and dance to and get angry to. It’s all about, like, how annoying it is to be a girl.”
The marketeers may well flinch at that line and make the point that these songs are accessible to us geezers too. But it’s a fact that her audience for live gigs is perhaps 80% female.
Bea Kristi’s teenage years have been more of a whirlwind than most. Her first single was also the very first song she ever wrote: the sweet and devastating acoustic track “Coffee”, which went viral after she uploaded it to Soundcloud in 2017.
After quickly following it up with a self-released four-track cassette, she signed to the 1975’s record label Dirty Hit, and dropped another EP the following year. In 2019, she released two more toured the US with indie pop star Clairo, and made the cover of the NME.
In early 2020, she was nominated for the The Brits ‘Critics Choice’ award, the BBC Sound of 2020, and performed at the NME Awards and at the 1975’s O2 Arena shows.
Before she could get a chance to catch her breath, “Coffee” then took on a new life of its own – as the sampled chorus in Canadian artist Powfu’s Death Bed, a TikTok smash which has now crept into the Top 20 chart in 27 countries.
After all that, Bea found herself locked down in her parents’ house in London, back in the bedroom where it all started, putting the finishing touches to her debut album.
Much of this record is about anger and maybe even despair. About feeling like an outsider. But music pulling her through the darker times. A beacon of light, if you like, Hope. Salvation.
Bea angry at society, about those who think they know her but they don’t. Those who feel sorry for her, but she wants none of that shit. She just wants folk to understand what’s she’s been through, that’s all.
Doesn’t this sound like many teenagers and their mindset as they grow into adults? So you can see, her appeal is massive to those who connect with her songs and think she is singing and writing about them.
There’s rage too, such as on “Emo Song”, a track that, “pretty much explains why I don’t have a lot of trust in men, and why I struggle with that”.
These songs are cathartic for her. “[Childhood] was a traumatic time. I’m still trying to get over it, with the help of therapy and with the help of people around me. It’s gonna take a while, but writing this album has helped a lot. Every song is so personal, I’m low-key fucking terrified to show it to the world.”
The dozen opens with “Care” – a track streamed almost four million times – and a song about trauma.
“Worth It” is effing brilliant. Her breathy vocals are mesmerising and the song is superb. A single we bigged up a while ago and which we hailed as “one of the best indie tracks of 2020”. Sticking with that, too.
“Dye It Red” is neat. “Back To Mars” is the shortest cut at one minute and 31 seconds. She’s brutally honest on “Charlie Brown”, singing about an addiction to self-harm.
“Sorry” is an acquired taste, with its off-kilter chord structure. “Further Away” slows thing down a tad before the gorgeous and ethereal “Horen Sarrison”, and that lovely string arrangement. Bee’s vocal showing another more chilled and dreamy side to it. Best track so far and longest at five minutes and 35 seconds.
“How Was Your Day” was recorded on a four-track cassette recorder in Bea’s boyfriend’s garden, when her studio was closed towards the beginning of the pandemic. Listen out for the canine contribution, when her fella’s dog barks on the track. But the dodgy tuning of the guitar will grate if you have perfect pitch!
“Together” is grungy and distorted, and full of attitude. The final track, “Yoshimi Forest Magdalene” is on a noisy vibe and jury is still out on that one.
Boy. Girl. Whomever…..If you can think of a better way to spend a spare circa 41 minutes, then do let me know. Keep it clean!
We’ve said it before and I am saying it again: Beabadoobee is well on her way to stardom. “Fake It Flowers” is magnificent and a dazzling debut. That’s not fake news, either.
- 14 Autumn dates in 2021 calling in to Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester, London, Bristol, Oxford, Dublin and Belfast in September – before Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow in October.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’