Beabadoobee – Beatopia review: An experimental sensation from an unstoppable artist.
The unstoppable artist, beabadoobee, has conjured a multilayered sensation that her devoted following have been waiting for; a 14-track fanciful record that explores routes of classic electric-pop, old-school fuzzy rock and even orchestral moments. Welcome to the world of beatopia.
Dominating the indie music since her chart-topping single ‘Coffee’ released at age 17, the critically acclaimed Gen Z icon has accumulated a cosmic 4.6 billion streams worldwide over the past 4 years. Throughout this, beabadoobee has been nominated for the 2020 Brit Awards Rising Star, won the 2020 Radar Award, toured worldwide with the likes of The 1975, Clairo and Halsey, and most recently dominated Glastonbury’s John Peel stage. Following the immense success of her 2020 debut studio album, ‘Fake it Flowers,’ beabadoobee is more liberated from barriers of genre and expectation then ever before, as she excitingly notes, “We had so much creative freedom”. The artist continues, “people sometimes overthink albums […] like, everything must sound like it’s part of the same album. If the same artist is writing the album, every song could sound completely different – but if it comes from the same heart, then it’s part of the same thing.” We witness this inspired liberation in her full-length experimental masterpiece beatopia.
Opening track ‘Beatopia Cultsong’ warmly guides beabadoobee’s enthused following through a whimsical world of fantasy. Distant strings, bells and harmonies all congregate in a dance, whilst the artist repeats ‘is it me, or recently, time’s moving slowly’, encouraging us to take part. beabadoobee notes the organic process of curating the opening track with some close friends, “We were just all there chanting this intro music, playing bongos, and it was so trippy.” This number asks us to strap ourselves in, and prepare to take flight to beatopia.
Electric nostalgia underpins the second track, ’10:36’. Delicate vocals collide with heavy guitar breaks, shattering boundaries of genre as beabadoobee navigates a romance ‘I didn’t think you’d fall in love, you’re just a warm body to hold, at night when I’m feeling all alone.’ Then, acoustically driven ‘Sunny day’ presents a breezy, summer anthem, hosting the singer’s mystical harmonies over a catchy riff.
The stunning hit, and previously released single ‘See you Soon’ appears next. An old-school, coming-of-age essence is created by gentle build ups and gorgeously hazy vocals, whilst the artist lyrically describes the necessity, but difficulty in creating space for personal growth; “I wanted you to know I need time to grow and exist.” We, as listeners can see the personal that has been poured into this number; in one instagram caption she writes, “This is my favourite song off beatopia and the connection I have with see you soon compares to no other song I have sat down and wrote. It is yours now to hear,” And we adore it.
Invited in by exquisite orchestral strings, beabadoobee sings of heartache in ‘Ripples’. Provoking chills and tears here, as lyrics solemnly speak to thousands; feeling ‘alone again’ and ‘six feet underground’. We find a unifying comfort in this, as the artist admirably weaves sorrow into a beautiful melody, and shares this with her adoring fanbase.
In contrast, but following eloquently due to the repeated use of strings, ’the perfect pair’ lifts spirits and encourages a dance with its fun yet off-kilter aesthetic. ‘broken cd’ begins gorgeously stripped back, showcasing the magnetic vocal ability of beabadoobee.
Co-written with and featuring vocals from Matty Healy, the longest track of the record ‘Pictures of Us’ is sentimental and grounding in its nature, but monumental in its performance. With a minute-long instrumental introduction we, as listeners, are gifted with the space to envisage ourselves in an epic Summer romance worthy of the big screen. Greeted then with layered, angelic vocals that describe ‘her and me’, whilst electric guitar riffs drive this piece to its peaceful conclusion. It is the repetition of the beautiful phrases throughout that make this number so soulful and personal.
The beautiful chaos of ‘fairy song’ follows. A conflict of aesthetic mirrors the declaration-style lyrics, which convey a sense of scrambled youth and self-inflicted pressure; ‘need to drink water’, ‘live for the day’, ‘speak to your brother’, ‘need to get out more’. Somehow delicately heavy, the artist displays their unique ability to combine tropes of various genres such as electric-pop, rock, and punk; all glazed over with the beabadoobee’s distinct sound, like fairy dust.
A favourite of mine and an inevitable classic, ‘Don’t get the deal’ integrates some old-school beabadoobee indie-rock into the record, with an addictive chorus and a sweetly unexpected bridge. Contrastingly, ’tinkerbell is overrated’ strolls down a more experimental path, and is a track that uniquely sparkles.
We relish an open-armed hug, warm-hearted smile and wave goodbye, as beabadoobee mentions ‘I’m going away’ in her conclusive acoustic number, ‘You’re here that’s the thing’.
Fanciful and romantic, youthful and captivating, beabadoobee’s newest album weaves images of a daydream. The wondrous world, curated within the imagination of a seven-year-old beabadoobee, has been brought to life.
Tour dates and tickets: https://www.beabadoobee.com
beatopia merch: https://store.dirtyhit.co.uk/beatopia