Victoria Legrand could literally shit on a plate, call it music, and I would eat it up. Luckily I don’t have to go quite that far, because album after album, Beach House comes through with gourmet-tasting sound. Their eighth studio album Once Twice Melody, released in four parts over the last few months, is no exception. While the title track “Once Twice Melody” and “Through Me” get earworm honorable mentions, “New Romance” takes the cake.

Beach House’s gorgeous, thoughtful lyrics are part of what makes them a top-tier act, but the words in this chorus, which Pitchfork calls “irresistible and meme-ready,” were surprising once I actually Googled them:

Last night, I'm messing up
Now I feel like dressing up

The fact that “I-L-Y-S-F-M” made it into a lyric is truly sending me! I had no idea this is what Legrand was singing originally, partly because you can barely hear her annunciate “ILYSFM” through the powerful keys and synth. Poke fun. Call it what you want. But somehow it just absolutely WORKS.

“New Romance” begins musically with a slow ascend into space, which is practically Beach House’s MO at this point. The layered synths sound like I imagine a sea of shooting stars might sound like if you were close enough to hear them. And in many ways, both lyrically and musically, Beach House is taking us somewhere else – a place between the sea, the land, and the sky. 

This is a song in motion. There are consistent references to being in transit (“Left on red, daylight moving backwards/ ‘Cause you’re off again”) and bidding this situation/world adieu (“Block after block with the speakers on/ Night after night, we say our goodbyes”). This journey also seems reckless and unknown, indicated in signs like the “smoke high on the avenue,” turning “left on red” (a sure way to guarantee a car crash), and heading into the dark as “daylight move[s] backwards.”

Listening activity: Dare I say this is good dinner party music?

Am I allowed to choose an entire bridge as an earworm? I think yes. The lead up to this moment is my favorite, and among the most beautifully puzzling lyrics I’ve seen from Beach House:

My love drips in red out of my mind at the edge of the sky
You feel your heart break and you don't know why
You're somebody else, somebody new
"Fuck it", you said, "It's beginning to look like the end"
So sick of swimming, I'm in over my head
No wrong or right, I know it's true

The lyrics signify a farewell to a past romance and the ultimate plunge into a new one, but there’s uncertainty in either direction. These large visuals are cinematic and frightening, like new love.

Though these words can feel intense and depressing with references to the end of days, there’s a spark of excitement too. It’s a signal to let go of control, give into the unknown, and dress up for something new.

And we know Beach House is dressed to the nines.

One response to “ILYSFM”

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