beabadoobee ushers in a rock-oriented era on the confident “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus”
When beabadoobee made her debut with the lo-fi, patchwork song “Coffee,” it seemed that she had found a niche that other Gen Z’ers like Clairo sought to fill. Extremely undermixed (in fact, “Coffee” sounded like it was recorded off of a fried laptop microphone), charming, and twee, beabadoobee’s music tapped into a heartfelt, dainty aesthetic that few could easily capture. But suddenly, the song somehow found its way to the attention of millions of listeners, and beabadoobee had a small, growing fanbase nearly overnight. Although she could have very well continued to pump out those same raw gems (and she did in the form of Lice EP and some other one-off singles) for an audience that was obviously interested in it, somewhere along the line she caught the attention of UK label Dirty Hit (The 1975, no rome) who signed her on at the end of last year. From there, beabadoobee’s true potential as a career musican became apparent. Following a string a recent releases like albums Patched Up and Loveworm all within the last year, she’s continued to make music with new producers and tools under her belt. And she still hasn’t shown any signs of stopping.
If you had told me the same person who made “Coffee” would make the head-banging, growling “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” within the span of one year, I wouldn’t believe it. Yet, here we are. A tribute to legendary Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus, beabadoobee finds comfort in her new sound (and new blue hair) as she continues to make her way to the top. Signalling the start of a brand new musical era, the song itself is scuzzy with major rockout power while still remaining ridiculously fun—much like the songs of Pavement. Beabadoobee, for one, seems to be having a great time. But even though she’s taking on a new musical direction, there’s still that twee appeal that emanates through a rock-out song like this. Amidst “yea’s” and “nice”s, there’s a bratty charm that adds to her casual, winking demeanor. “Cause your photos suck / Your brand is shit / You’re up your butt / You never ask me how I am,” she accuses. There’s a sense here that even though she’s touring the world and conquering the music circuit, she’s still a teenager at heart.
Even though they’re genres apart, “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” has that same kind of homespun charisma that made everyone fall in love with her on “Coffee”—just on a much larger scale.
beabadoobee’s Space Cadet EP will be released later this year on Dirty Hit.
Header photo by Jordan Curtis Hughes.
Li-Wei Chu is the chief editor of From the Intercom. When he’s not editing drafts and searching for new artists to cover for the website, he loves watching cult films, cooking, and listening to his ever-growing collection of vinyl records. You can follow him on LetterBoxd and make fun of his taste in movies here!