Casual Cadenza: ‘Fake It Flowers’ saves 2020

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After sifting through ideas for my last column of 2020, I decided it’d be fitting to go over an annual topic first started by my predecessor, Daniel Cohn, whose company left us far too soon. (Don’t worry; he’s not dead, he just graduated). Last year Dan wrote an article entailing his five favorite albums of 2019 as part of a “decade wrap-up” for his music column. While I wasn’t able to come up with five favorites, there is one album I would gladly designate as my album of the year. 

Ever since “Space Cadet” became my quarantine anthem, beabadoobee (Bea Kristi) has emerged as one of my all-time favorite artists. So when she announced her upcoming album, “Fake It Flowers,” there was nothing to be felt but pure excitement. My anticipation was further fueled by the generous number of singles released prior to the album’s debut in October, which — based on the amount of joy I got listening to each one — I knew was going to be great. 

In an interview with New Musical Express, Kristi explained how the fair abundance of personal anecdotes within “Fake It Flowers” has affected her and how she hoped it would affect audiences. 

“I wear my heart on my sleeve on this album,” Kristi said. “It’s made me understand myself more – understand how I choose to act in certain situations and where it stems from. Writing this record made me feel comfortable with myself and I hope it makes other girls feel that, too.” 

Considering “Fake It Flowers” has managed to snag “album of the year,” a rigid title I rarely give to any mere set of songs, I’d say beabadoobee’s goal to touch the hearts of fellow listeners has been well-accomplished. It’s an album that consists of angsty frustration, conflicted confessions, self-acceptance, harmful habits, loud apologies and nostalgic desires woven into a collection of ‘90s rock melodies – a love letter to anyone fed up with the fluctuating momentum of life. And as someone who’s never received a love letter before, this album is probably the closest I’ll get to receiving one. 

For the sake of originality and to avoid the cliché of reciting the entire tracklist as my list of favorites (even though it’s technically the truth), I had to go through a strenuous process of choosing my most treasured song. There was much contemplation involved, with “Worth It” and “Together” being absolute bangers and the oddly pleasant outlandishness of “Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene” making it a likeable candidate. Eventually, I decided to go with “Emo Song.” 

I think by now my inclination toward tear-jerkers and depression-instigators is becoming more visible with each column I write. Despite sounding like the human epitome of Eeyore, “Emo Song” wholly fits my preference for melancholic lyrics. Kristi has said herself that it’s one of her most personal songs from “Fake It Flowers,” encapsulating how the effects of a strained childhood can materialize in later relationships. The subject of past regrets is relatably sincere, while the sorrow of them manifesting as you grow up is an issue most audiences – including me – can agree with. 

There’s definitely some irony behind the fact that a primarily unhappy song ended up being one of the best aspects of an already unhappy year. Although 2020 will undoubtedly go down as one of the most memorably horrible years on record, “Fake It Flowers” turned out to be the perfect compensation. Like most of the music she writes, beabadoobee doesn’t fail to offer solace through heartfelt narratives told by a blend of grunge and alternative rock. She puts her entire life into this album, a commendable act with a result I can only grant as my album of the year. 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @radvxz on Instagram.

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