Album of the Week: Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers (2020 LP)

For many people, their music tastes come about in one of two ways: through friends and lived experiences or through their parents and siblings. More recently you could even add the internet to that list. For me, the majority of my musical taste came directly from my dad and brother, while being part of the Myspace and Limewire generation opened up the opportunity to discover so much music beyond my dad’s extensive CD and vinyl collection. I, like so many of my peers, went through their pop-punk phase at the beginning of high school where every song seemed to relate to the day-to-day trials of being a teenager (I have to admit my teenage years were relatively mundane and did not justify my continued listening to angst-driven punk).

For Beabadoobee, she could very well prove to be the artist that so many teens look towards for representation of their lives in not only music, but the world in general. Here on her debut album Fake It Flowers, Beabadoobee allows us into her world of shoe gaze and confessional grunge, while touching on themes of love, loss and the trauma and rage of being a young person in a world that is seemingly always going to be against the youth.

Having been quite prolific with her output over the past couple of years, 2020 has been a whirlwind of success for the Filipino-British act, having been nominated for a BRIT award, featuring on the BBC’s Sound of 2020 and being featured in one of the first Tik Tok driven viral hits, Powfu‘s “Death Bed”. With such a busy first quarter of the year out of the way, Beabadoobee locked herself away just as COVID was kicking off to finalise the majority of Fake It Flowers and bring to life her story as a young woman in the world.

Lead single and album opener “Care” is the exact first track you’d want your debut album to have as you properly announce your intentions to the listening world. Described by Beabadoobee as having an end of a movie vibe, it perfectly captures the scene just as the main protagonist drives down the highway having come to terms with what the previous 90 minutes of the movie had dealt them. It’s got touches of Hatchie written all over it, as the upbeat nature of the track tries to hide the genuine trauma the song was hatched from. It’s a genuinely confronting and angry song at its core and should definitely be given a proper listen through.

Having signed to The 1975‘s record label Dirty Hit, there’s a definite early 1975 influence to some of the tracks on Fake It Flowers, with elements of “Worth It” definitely straight out of the Matt Healy playbook. Having spoken in the lead up to Fake It Flowers, Beabadoobee has openly described the album as being a female record; one that will hopefully influence the next generation of young girls and teens to become musicians. Beabadoobee is openly stoked about the number of young girls who’ve reached out citing her as the reason they’ve learnt guitar. It’s this enthusiasm and frankness that bellows out on Fake It Flowers. The genuine hit-in-waiting “Dye it Red” is three minutes of soaring hooks and honest lyrics, with an absolute killer solo that begins in the bridge and closes out the song in a mighty style. Much like “Care”, it has the hallmarks of being a mainstay on coming-of-age soundtracks into the future.

Having grown up in a predominately white community, Beabadoobee uses her experiences of being an outsider to shape much of the content on Fake It Flowers. Being an outcast has shaped much of the album, from the lyrical themes to the brand of music she is developing. The purely angry “Charlie Brown” explores her experiences of self-harm, as she reveals to the listener an open book of who she truly is. “Emo Song” is Beabadoobee announcing her utter distrust of men and why it has impacted her relationships the older she has gotten (as touched on in “Worth It”).

There’s a genuine level of authenticity to Fake It Flowers that empowers the listener to love and connect to Beabadoobee. “How Was Your Day?” has obvious DIY elements, which enamours her to those young girls at home learning guitar because of her.  Closing out on the immediate punk of “Together” (with its Camp Cope/ WAAX feel) and the hypnotic anthemic messiness of “Yoshimi Forest Magdalene” (Wolf Alice would be proud of this one), Beabadoobee has done everything on Fake It Flowers to make it an album that will shape the musical tastes of the next generation of young girls looking to learn about and live music.

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Fake It Flowers is out Friday 16 October.

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