Amoeblog


All 8 Beach House Albums, including ‘7,’ Ranked

Posted by Billy Gil, May 9, 2018 12:43pm | Post a Comment

Beach House Albums Ranked

In celebration of the release of 7, the excellent seventh studio album from Baltimore’s best, the dream pop duo Beach House, we’re counting off the band’s albums in a totally subjective, completely biased way. Pick up 7 when it comes out on Friday, May 11 or pre-order it now on CD, LP or cassette, and let us know what you think — is Teen Dream better than Bloom? Is Devotion totally underrated? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Beach House B-Sides

8. B-Sides & Rarities (2017)

Sure, it’s not a true Beach House album, but this B-sides and rarities album is strong enough to warrant inclusion. It’s a strong listen on its own merit, including “Equal Mind,” a song that could’ve easily been a single were it included on Depression Cherry or Thank Your Lucky Stars.

Beach House Devotion

7. Devotion (2008)

For their second album, Beach House upped the production values and loosened up a bit, employing a countrified swing and letting Victoria Legrand’s vocals rise above the mix for moments of stunning beauty. Though individually the songs were not as memorable as later ones, on Devotion the band crafted an album of singular longing and solidified the “Beach House” sound.

Beach House 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. 7 (2018)

After the relatively moody Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, some may hail 7 as a return to form, but by our count, the band never lost it to begin with. The album manages to combine the pulled-back intimate feel of the band’s more recent albums with the pop touches of the more upbeat Bloom and Teen Dream. They incorporate some new flourishes along the way that rejuvenate the band at just the right time, such as the wild synth stab underpinning “Lemon Glow” and the Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar octaves of “Pay No Mind.” They give an urbane twist to their pop noir on “Drunk in LA,” courtesy of a lurid synthscape and codeined vocal affectation, and the electronic atmospherics of “Black Car” and “Lose Your Smile” call to mind Goldfrapp jamming with Air. That said, Beach House do exactly what they have always done best on the majority of 7’s tracks. “Dark Spring” pounds with a forceful beat and shoegaze riffs before drifting into a dreamy, twisting chorus. “L’Inconnue” begins with Victoria Legrand’s vocals layering until they sound like they could shatter a cathedral window. And “Dive” finds Beach House at their most epically gorgeous, building from the kind of breathy country sway you might hear at the Twin Peaks Roadhouse to a geyser of gleaming, metallic guitars and whispery romance. Without quite reinventing the wheel, Beach House remind you of just how consistently great they are on 7.

Beach House Depression Cherry

5. Depression Cherry (2015)

Even more so than Devotion, Depression Cherry is the sound of a singular mood, epitomized by the black humor of the album title. Although at times the mood deepens into murk, Depression Cherry was perhaps a necessary pull-back after Bloom’s pop overtones, ensuring the specialness of the band in its most elementary form was not lost. Plus, it houses a few of Beach House’s best songs, including the kaleidoscopic noise-pop of “Sparks” and the swooning “Space Song.”

Beach House Thank Your Lucky Stars

 

4. Thank Your Lucky Stars (2015)

Similar to Radiohead’s Amnesiac or Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered, Thank Your Lucky Stars was an album released shortly after a big studio album from an esteemed act (in this case, Depression Cherry, which came out earlier the same year) that consisted of what may have been leftovers but ended up rivaling the quality of the more highly touted release. What Thank Your Lucky Stars lacked in absolute cohesion it made up for with some of Beach House’s most direct, honed versions of the sound they’ve been working on for years. The album includes such memorable moments as the easygoing pop shimmer of “Majorette,” the crisp noir of “All Your Yeahs” and cinematic sprawl of “Elegy to the Void.”

Beach House self-titled album

3. Beach House (2006)

In the afterglow of the early ’00s garage band movement appeared a duo from Baltimore that dusted off grandma church organs and thrift store guitars to make glittering gems of melancholic balladry spattered with lo-fi production that crusts over everything, like pearls unearthed from a watery tomb, as evoked by the album cover. This proved to be prophetic. The following years would see bands such as Best Coast, Wild Nothing, and Real Estate evoke similar nostalgia from modest means. But Beach House is remarkable not just for its premonition of the late ’00s lo-fi movement, but also for its songcraft. Songs like “Apple Orchard” and “Master of None” proved to be some of Beach House’s most striking, the latter sampled by future superstar The Weeknd.

Beach House Teen Dream

2. Teen Dream (2010) 

Song for song, Teen Dream may be Beach House’s strongest album. The romantic Southern sway of its opening tracks folds into two perfectly executed pop singles, “Norway” and “Walk in the Park,” showcasing the band’s newfound ability to suggest Stevie Nicks-led Fleetwood Mac, were they signed to ’80s 4AD. Every song feels classic in its own way, from the stark and emotional “Real Love” to the Beatles-esque roll of “Used to Be” and breathtaking closer “Take Care,” a song so good one company felt the need to rip it off in order to sell cars. That the band didn’t let that happen without putting up a fight speaks to a greater truth about Beach House and their music: Even while making concessions toward a greater pop reach, the band never lost the integrity of its music or its goals as musicians.

Beach House Bloom

 

 

 

1. Bloom (2012)

Riding high after Teen Dream, Beach House went on to make the most successful and arguably best album of its career. Everything locks into place perfectly across Bloom’s 10 tracks, feeling as though the band has emerged from the dusty environs in which it happily inhabited for three albums to fully embrace their place as one of our generation’s greatest bands. Victoria Legrand’s voice rises to new heights on powerful opener “Myth” and creates a stained glass of shades and textures on the stunning “Lazuli.” With live drums increasingly taking the place of drum machines, fully born pop songs like “Other People” and “The Hours” introduced a rollicking side of the band not previously seen, while “Wishes” felt like Beach House’s most fully realized ballad — a glittering ode to the obfuscation between dreams and memories, hopes and reality. On Bloom, Beach House managed to fully connect while remaining as alluring as ever, as though just a finger’s length away, in a way that never feels short of transcendent.

 

Relevant Tags

B-sides And Rarities (1), Beach House (29), Devotion (0), Teen Dream (1), Bloom (1), 7 (2), Depression Cherry (4), Thank Your Lucky Stars (2)