By Owen Scott
The second album is always difficult. When you’ve built the hype around you that Beabadoobee has, with a hit album, hit EP, and viral Tik Tok song under her belt, then the second album has to have a lot of pressure on it. Beabadoobee, however, breaks the sophomore album curse with her album Beatopia, an album even more ethereal and varied than her last. Beabadoobee promised Alt Press that ‘It’s a lot of different vibes’ and she delivered. At times drawing from 2000s rock and at others drawing from folk influences, it’s at all times creative.
The album’s ethereal sensibilities come through immediately on the album’s opening song ‘Beatopia Cultsong.’ The song, complete with ethereal choruses and chants of “Is it me or, recently, time is moving slowly?“, feels like something out of Ari Aster‘s Midsommar. The song being a ‘Cultsong’ feels appropriate, as it welcomes us to Beatopia, a world invented by Beabadoobee when she was seven. The album shines in these otherworldly moments, some of which, such as one of the album’s singles, ‘See You Soon’, draw from psychedelic experiences with mushrooms. ‘See You Soon’ borrows heavily from this, having existential lyrics that evoke the feeling of tripping. ‘Pictures of Us’, the tenth track on the album, is another song featuring abstract lyrics like “God starts with a capital“, with this being one of the catchiest songs on the album.
The album shines in its heavier moments too, sounding at times like a 2000s reinterpretation of Riot Grrrl music. Songs like ‘Talk’, the album’s lead single are anthemic and made to be shouted along to live (which you can do if you catch the upcoming Beatopia tour). The song ’10:36’ is another 2000s rock inspired track on the album, with chants of “I don’t want to, yeah, yeah” already perfect for crowds to shout along to. The album’s wider influences come through with ‘Perfect Pair’, a song that dials back on the heavy guitars, but keeps up the pace with rapid acoustic guitars and strings, that make the song feel fit for a film.
Some of the most creative songs on the album combine this heavier sound with light-hearted, airy vocals, such as with ‘Fairy Song’, which features a distorted shouting section in the middle. This isn’t the only song to reference fairies on the album however, as ‘Tinkerbell is Overrated’ makes reference, of course, to the most iconic fairy of all. The song itself is upbeat, with a summery sound, featuring PinkPantheress, though it features darker lyrics like “My hair’s turned grey.” This sunny sound echoes back to the aptly named ‘Sunny Day’, the third track on the album, a song perfect for a summer afternoon.
At other times, the record takes a more acoustic tone, with songs like ‘Ripples’ featuring lush, heart-breaking strings, which made it a definite standout on the album. Despite them being more acoustic, these songs remain varied however, with ‘Broken CD’ being more stripped back and ‘Lovesong’ featuring the strings from ‘Ripples.’ ‘Don’t Get The Deal’ is another light-hearted, groovy track – one that hits you when you lie back and just let the song float by. ‘You’re Here, That’s The Thing’ is the most folk-influenced, breezing by with guitars and light vocals. It’s a light-hearted exit to the world of Beatopia, having explored its emotional ups and downs.
Overall, Beabadoobee has done what every artist wants to with their second album; she’s not only proven she’s not got just one amazing album up her sleeve, she’s got two. Beatopia has a song for every mood. Getting ready for a night out? Listen to ‘Talk.’ Sitting down and thinking about life? Listen to ‘See You Soon.’ Where the album’s strength lies is in its variety and its concept. It’s a great listen and a great follow up to her debut.
Catch Beabadoobee on tour here and be ready to stream Beatopia on July 15th
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