beabadoobee Beatopia Dirty Hit
At this point, when you crack the seal on a new beabadoobee record, you know exactly what you’re going to get – and if that sounds like an indictment on her signature brand of introspective 90s power-pop, not so fast. At 22, the British-Filipino singer-songwriter has five EPs under her (surely studded) belt, as well as 2020’s well-received album Fake it Flowers. So far each release has mined, at various depths, the same influences: the blissful guitar rock of bands like Helium and Superchunk, but also the mega-hitmakers of the era, like Natalie Imbruglia and Sixpence None the Richer. The result is an imagined nostalgia cooked up by someone whose birth missed the 90s by just over six months. But perhaps it’s this distance that gives beabadoobee’s music its appeal – her approach, while being somewhat predictable in its homage, never disappoints.
Beatopia, which is named after a magical imaginary world beabadoobee made up to stave away childhood loneliness, is in some ways the most realised version of her vision yet. From the distorted breakbeat intro and elastic basslines of lead single Talk to the gently strummed guitars and tinny electronic drums of See You Soon, she’s careful to tread on the right side of pastiche. The Perfect Pair features a bossanova chord structure and sweeping strings that provide a welcome moment of elevation to her usual indie pop, adding the likes of Cibo Matto and Pizzicato Five to her arsenal of 90s touchpoints.
Beatopia’s success lies in the expansion of beabadoobee’s sound in all the right places, while staying true to what makes her popular in the first place. Sure, the project could benefit from a little more variety, but it’s like the old saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.