For the last ten plus years, Baltimore's Beach House has been making slow burning music that haunts and thrills in various terms. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have managed to have a more fulfilled and full sound with just two members than many full bands. Album after album has grown in texture and artistry and in turn it’s help them to become one of the better known indie bands of the last several years. Today we discuss the Top Ten Beach House songs. Enjoy!
10. Sparks, Depression Cherry
“Sparks” begins with an ethereal backing track, yet manages to just as easily enter into a translucent guitar arrangement that sounds like Beach House with the guitar prowess of Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The song never gets too busy and fast paced, like most of the band’s other tracks, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring or even vague. On the newish album, “Depression Cherry,” this track helps to bring in new ideas, while also reminding you of what type of music Beach House is capable and comfortable doing.
9. Wedding Bell, Devotion
This was the first track I’d ever heard from Victoria and Alex, but from the first moments I was both entranced and curious where the next song would take me. It’s winding and reclusive at the same time, with Legrand’s voice creeping through darkness. Looking back, you can see that the band always needed better production to fulfill their ultimate perfect song, but for a band so heavy on lavish, complex beats, Beach House does exceedingly well in bringing the ideas to the front, even though the music isn’t as full as efforts that followed it.
8. On the Sea, Bloom
Sometimes, just sometimes, a song can perfectly capture the spirit and essence of the track’s title, while also managing to put you right into the world the band creates. That’s true of our number eight pick for the Top Ten Beach House songs. “On the Sea” burns with regrets, big and small, and the pain and hurt in knowing you can’t go back all the time. Victoria LeGrand’s voice luminates feelings I didn’t know I even had, and it’s that kind of strength and emotional capability that makes Beach House a perfect band for longing days and mythological nights under the solar system of our vast galaxy.
7. Lover of Mine, Teen Dream
Another track filled with beats and vocals that are both mysterious and positive, “Lover of Mine” is one of the better songs on the band's 2010 majestic “Teen Dream,” and it seems effortless in the way it perfectly blends the semi-electronic elements in the band and the how those same beats further elevate Victoria’s vocals to the distant yet warm qualities of her voice. It’s slightly more upbeat than other tracks, but in its dim glow it provides the light for us to vanish and worship the night.
6. Space Song, Depression Cherry
On the Baltimore duo’s fifth album, the sounds are fuller and darker while at the same time drawing you in like the other records do, but there’s something more. It’s more distant and longing, and the enhanced production quality helps to bring these notions to perfect culmination. The beat is as dark as it is whimsical, like something you might hear in Ridley Scott’s “Legend.” Victoria’s voice continues to graze the surface of a dying planet, while the cold beats pulse rhythmically to create a world where everything just “Falls back into place.”
5. Zebra, Teen Dream
“Teen Dream’s” opening of “Zebra” not only shows us where the band was at musically during the recording of this album, but how much they manage to grow with every release, even at a pace that hardly lends any helping hands in staying afloat and original. Most bands that average a release every two years or so have difficulty growing, but for the Baltimore twosome it seems easy and second nature in their ability to continue to grow under the difficult light of releasing and touring so consistently
4. Walk in the Park, Teen Dream
At number four on the Top Ten Beach House songs, comes around a track that very much lies directly in sync with the songs title. I picture the dark surrounding of a forest, roaming with sidewalks tucked under blooming trees, and the joy of being at peace and understanding with something fading away and being replaced with something else. The beat is mid tempo and invigorating in a strange short of way, but it’s more than enough to bring the element of surprise to a song that can be both uplifting musically and downtrodden lyrically and vocally. It’s one of the best things Beach House does as a band, and they continue to excel at this quality.
3. Gila, Devotion
One of the darker, more David Lynch-esque tracks the band has to offer, it shows you Beach House from early in their time as a band, but also fits nicely in the direction they’ve continued to head towards later in their career. The track is somewhat basic, but for a band full of ideas and ways to get to their desired goals, it shows how much they’ve added in their more recent years. The song flows like a solemn heartbeat, never slowing or speeding, but rather beating continuously in a mysterious manner, uncertain of where the destination is.
2. Norway, Teen Dream
A song that’s perfect for a night under white christmas lights, dancing and smiling into the coming dawn with someone who understands you, “Norway,” shines brighter, quite a bit more than a vast majority of the band’s recordings. It’s still not an easy going song though, but it’s somewhat optimistic, compared to other songs. It’s also easy to get lost in the world painted here, which ultimately makes the song better and more meaningful to the listener. I’m not saying i’m completely obsessed still with this song, but i wouldn’t mind a full album of material like this.
From the opening of the bells to the hazy beats surrounding the track, “Myth” stands as not only the best opening song in the band’s catalog, but also as the Number One song in Beach House’s arsenal. It winds down a lonely road as the stars fill the atmosphere amid a dying blue sky. Alex provides perfect ambiance for Legrand’s haunting voice, while at the same time making sure that everything is tightly arranged and perfectly contrasting in the way the hopefulness of the music intertwines with the uncertainty of Victoria’s voice. Thanks for reading!
ALSO A QUICK PSA: As you can see, my posts have become somewhat infrequent, and all the trying in the world isn’t making it any easier. I’m writing at this point not only for this space, but when I can for another excellent website, Xs Noize, as well as a local magazine here in New Orleans, “Where Y'at!”
I’ve been trying and failing to keep up the usual three post a week traffic flow, but I think from here on out I’m gonna start focusing on longer, more thought out pieces here, instead of what I’ve been doing. Look for these posts more in the time frame of every week, at least once, as well as more original pieces less focused on individual bands or albums, and more in depth pieces. Basically expect more album reviews, more show reviews, less top tens, and more large pieces about the history of certain bands. Thanks again for reading, see you soon!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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