October 28, 2016

LP: Betty Becky - Betty Becky

Betty Becky wrangles with past relationships, depression, 
and surviving loneliness on their eponymous LP.

Berkeley twee-o (like trio…sorry) Betty Becky are having trouble getting out of bed and, given their home in the Bay, cold and rainy weather isn’t their biggest problem. Beds are great because they’re like a shield, protecting us from the outside world and responsibilities, but one thing beds are not is a bodyguard for memories and feelings. The songs on Betty Becky’s eponymous LP know this to be true as they wrangle with past relationships, depression, and surviving loneliness in not-so-healthy ways.

“I don’t wanna improve myself / I’m as good as I am / I don’t wanna love myself / That shit’s for my man,” they strut over faint drums and minimal, rolling instrumentation on the opening track, “getting high (I can’t).” They’re aware that sleeping in all day achieves nothing. When you can just smoke weed under the covers all day, who cares? It’s less strenuous than socializing, which requires effort and tampering down any bad feelings you’re having so you don’t drag everyone down. “Anti-social” begins with the familiar scenario of telling someone you want to hang out but never following through, before “days turn into weeks and months / I lose track as we lose touch.“ Betty Becky challenge the notion of time as a healer of wounds. Although the singer’s yearlong relationship has ended on “The Way I See It,” she still retains “useless” information such as coffee preferences. The first verse of the next track, “Static,” takes place in the present, accusing the significant other of thriving on her depression, and concludes with the person moving out. All that’s left is her memories of the person thinking “Joy Division sucks” and a Husker Du CD burnt ten years ago. That’s the problem with being involved with someone who loves music as much as you: the records you bond over absorb their essence forever.

The closer, “Hardly Summer,” digs deeper into the despair with the narrator holed up in the middle of summer, sipping on what is just the first of multiple 40s as she searches for her early grave. Lest the band get too self-pitying, they let out a howl like a dog in the night. Laugh to keep from crying. Betty Becky’s isn't wallowing, though, as they retain a sense of humor. “Educate Yourselves” is one big eyeroll as the band bemoans another Nice Guy ™, wringing every drop of scum out of the phrase like a wet rag. In a bit of meta fun, on the “girl band interlude,” they read an excerpt from Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mixtape describing a group of girls forming a band before a b-o-y breaks them up. Judging by their exasperation with helpless, energy-draining, willfully ignorant guys, Betty Becky don’t have to worry about that. Much of the music is simple, warm, and calm. Avoiding the repetition within lo-fi bedroom pop, the band plays with collage like on “static redux” where the group repurposes fragments of “static”’s lyrics over top of one another, as well as on the interlude with the group la-la-ing and ooh-oohing over meandering guitar. Comfort and consistency are nice, sure, but eventually you’re going to have to get out of bed. You may feel better and, if not, just grab yourself another 40.


Listen to Betty Becky on bandcamp.

Alex Stern is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, PA. He enjoys Hemingway Daiquiris, Frasier, and lox. You can follow him on Twitter @alyman007, but he won't be offended if you don't.