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  • Tass Drobinski

Beatopia: A Nostalgic and Intimate Voyage into Beabadoobee’s Childhood Dreamworld

In a time of economic crisis and terrifying political turmoil, Beabadoobee’s latest album release Beatopia is a tranquil escape, like stepping inside the wandering, naïve, and ethereal mind of a child. The album title comes from a dream world imagined by gen Z icon Beabadoobee, aka Beatrice Kristi Laus, at the age of seven, as an escape from being heavily bullied at an all-girls catholic school. This childhood sanctum has been realised through the nostalgic and beautifully clumsy sounds of 90s and early 2000s pop, where Laus presents what feels like a personal time capsule, and an intimate attempt at self-healing.

The third track on the album, and Bea’s latest single Sunny Day, inspired by her love for 00s pop artists Nelly Furtado and Corrine Bailey Rae, is definitely the most catchy song on the album, with a repetitive and sweetly melodic hook. It sounds like midsummer teenage abandon, and along with the chorus lyrics “You know I don’t mean it, I promise I’m better / With the sun we’ll leave my house, I’m sorry for yesterday”, it feels like an innocent and almost agonising exploration of human relationships. Sunny Day comes alongside a wonderland-esque music video, with highly saturated mystical scenes, reminiscent of the videos for No Doubt’s Don’t speak, and Wolf Alice’s Freazy, following Bea on a psychedelic trip into this kaleidoscopic dreamscape.

The standout song for me is track 10: Pictures of Us, a collaboration with Dirty Hit label mate Matty Healy of The 1975. Beabadoobee supported The 1975 on their 2020 UK tour, and the band’s most recent, and in my opinion, much improved sound really shines through on this collab. The timelessly poetic, clean guitar melody it opens with, and the romantic, emotive dual vocals carry the song into potentially dangerous ballad territory. But the fresh experimental sounds affiliated with Healy, alongside Laus’ eclectic mix of influences yield a fantastic pop song. With lyrics like “She reminded me that God starts with a capital / But I don’t think I could do it all”, it has you longing for a lost connection you never had.

Laus’ Moldy peaches and Kimya Dawson influences really manifest themselves in this diegetic release, which sounds like the sort of album to accompany a 2022 Juno. Bea also cites Elliot Smith as a huge influence on her songwriting, as well as 90s icons such as Sonic Youth, Mazzy Star, and Pavement, who all seem to have contributed to the whimsical and often melancholic sounds of Beatopia.

Bea’s 2020 debut album Fake it Flowers was likened, albeit very lazily, to that of Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani, with her early 2000s alt-pop-rock attitude and grungy 90s guitar and outfits. Beatopia feels a lot more like a self-discovery album, and even an acceptance of herself, her inner child, and perhaps the artist she wants to be. It’s a brave release for the tricky second album, especially at the age of 22, as it leaves behind the punchier hit songs, and instead delivers much more poetic and deliberated artistry, which maybe takes a good few listen throughs to fall in love with.

In October, London born Beabadoobee embarks on a UK run of intimate acoustic shows, playing in Sheffield at The Foundry on the 14th. You would be an absolute fool to miss it.


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