Review: beabadoobee Breaks Bedroom Pop Bubble on Grunge-Inspired EP ‘Space Cadet’

Space Cadet - beabadoobee
‘Space Cadet’ is both an ode to nineties rock and a grungy exclamation of the frustration Dirty Hit signee beabadoobee feels in establishing her identity as an artist and human being.

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Space Cadet - beabadoobee

Space Cadet EP – beabadoobee

The nineties have time and time again proven itself to be an indispensable aesthetic of the modern indie scene, and teenaged London-based artist and rising Dirty Hit signee Bea Kristi is pioneering its onset within Generation Z.

On October 15th, Kristi, who performs under the pseudonym beabadoobee, released a 5-track EP entitled, Space Cadet. Space Cadet is the second project from beabadoobee this year (third if you count Loveworm (Bedroom Sessions)) and features singles, “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” and “She Plays Bass”. Over the past year, beabadoobee has time and time again demonstrated her versatility as an artist, which becomes immediately apparent when comparing her most recent works with her first full length album, Patched Up. This is addressed directly on this latest EP, which contrasts the DIY aesthetics that once snagged the attention of her Gen Z fanbase with heavy guitar and vocals reminiscent of 90’s indie rock.

Listen: Space Cadet EP – beabadoobee

Despite the lo-fi guitar and soft vocals of her early works that landed her the umbrella categorization of “bedroom-pop artist”, don’t be quick to discredit beabadoobee’s alt-rock influences. She credits Pavement and specifically lead-singer Stephen Malkmus as one of her primary musical influences and even opted to project footage of a live Pavement performance on stage in lieu of booking an opening act for one of her gigs.

The single named for the Pavement frontman, “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” has gotten recent attention due to the positive feedback from Malkmus himself. He shared a photo of the pair posing together with the caption, “Good times with Bea and her band last nite in Pdx…really cool to me n’ the girls…we stan”. Down to the title, the single is both an ode to nineties rock and a grungy exclamation of the frustration 18-year-old beabadoobee feels in establishing her identity as an artist and human being. As a blue-haired heavily tattooed Catholic school student, she is no stranger to feeling different – nor does she shy from expressing those feelings of alienation.

Watch: “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” – beabadoobee

The music video accompanying the single offers a literal take on the notion of “alienation”, complete with an alien abduction. The theme of the video grapples with the identity changes beabadoobee is encountering and the lack of understanding she meets from others despite her embrace of those developments. In one shot, masked characters tear down a wall of cartoon drawings reminiscent of the cover art of her early, pre-label releases, which may be representative of her changing sound.

The single’s lyrics, which exclaim, “I wanted change, no one forced it / My hair is blue, it’s pretty obvious / That I kinda like it”, shut down any presumption that her change in sound was prompted by her label or newfound fame – in fact, beabadoobee credits Dirty Hit for giving her the space and creative sovereignty to explore various aesthetics.

Where “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” pronounces her change in image, “Are You Sure?” laments the lack of understanding she encounters when it comes to her identity. The piece encapsulates the feeling of angst and frustration associated with growing older and the isolation associated with it. The lines, “You say you’ve been to Mars before / Are you sure?” carry the motif of outer space while equating beabadoobee’s feelings of estrangement to being on a distant, uninhabited planet.

The title track, “Space Cadet” aptly resolves the work with a sense of acceptance and embrace of her lack of attachment to one image. Lyrics, “This candy floss made spacecraft / Took the dirt out from my brain / Threw them out to outer space”, encapsulate what it means to be freed from a self-imposed sense of confinement to reach a place of quiet indifference.

beabadoobee is currently supporting bedroom pop icon Clairo on her North American Immunity tour, which serves as her live American debut. This winter, she will return to the UK to gear up for the Dirty Hit 2019 tour with label mates No Rome and Oscar Lang, with live versions of the Space Cadet tracks. This latest work has artfully managed to offer a cohesive showcase of beabadoobee’s range as a rising artist while incorporating the familiar outer space motif dating back to early releases like “The Moon Song” and “Spacing Out”. From lyrics such as, “You say you understand / Are you sure?” to “We’re both stuck in the same boat / The world doesn’t seem to get us though”, beabadoobee’s sound is one that demands to be heard.

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Space Cadet - beabadoobee

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Raised on the New York City live music scene, Harper now spends her days in Boston studying Music Industry at Northeastern University. Her passion lies in event planning - specifically concerts and music festivals - but she also prides herself on music discovery and staying on top of the latest releases (and sharing them with others!).