In Review: beabadoobee - 'Worth It'

Unfortuately, ‘Worth it’ feels like backwards momentum and an aesthetic wrong turn for a seriously talented songwriter.
Posted: 22 September 2020 Words: Miles Ellingham

Bea Kristi, better known by her stage name beabadoobee, is a harbinger of the information age; her story is emblematic of our time. According to the Filipino-born, London songwriter, her music career sprang from her feeling, ‘depressed and kinda bored’, prompting her dad to buy her a second-hand guitar on which she wrote the intimate ballad ‘Coffee’. ‘Coffee’ didn’t seem like much at the time; Bea herself described it as “dumb as f***”in an interview with Rolling Stone. To her surprise however, it went viral, and a Blink 182 remix of the song ended up with over four billion plays after blowing up on Tik Tok as a soundtrack for the trending antics of pubescent Zoomer couples. 

I don’t think ‘Coffee’ is “dumb as f***”. I think it’s quite a tender, intimate song, one that rings with innocence and nostalgia and melancholy. It’s oddly charming, and quite moving; the insane volume of plays it accrued is reflective of this – the same goes for her single ‘The Moon Song’ and 2018 EP, Lice. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Beabadoobee’s new track ‘Worth it’, which is catchy but decidedly routine. ‘Worth it’ feels like backwards momentum and harkens a cloying aesthetic return to 00s pop-rock, which is more than a little terrifying. 

Apparently ‘Worth it’ is “simply about teenage infidelity”, which is by no means a bad thing to write a song about. Whilst it’s certainly possible to make interesting music about teenage cognitive dissonance (just look at Sonic Youth, Party of One or Billie Eilish), the disaffected angst embodied in ‘Worth it’ feels quintessentially boring. It’s too saccharine without actually subverting anything. And what’s with the Sum 41 revivalism? Is 00s indie-rock cool now? Must we re-invest in ‘livestrong’ bracelets and Henleys and unnecessary scarves? There’s something of the American Pie 2 soundtrack in 'Worth it', and it’s likely a result of Kristi spending too much time with the boys of Blink 182 – one of the worst bands this side of the millennium. Of course, ‘Worth it’ will no doubt do well and shouldn’t discredit Kristi as a seriously talented songwriter, but it’s an aesthetic wrong turn and it’s not as sincere as the earlier stuff. 

To hear more from beabadoobee, click here

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