When was the last time you caught yourself daydreaming, and what were you daydreaming about? Perhaps it was five minutes ago, bored at your desk, longing for the sun’s kiss on your skin, or your bed and a lazy stint of Netflix. Or perhaps it was something bigger; whisking yourself away to more tropical climes, a liberated detour to somewhere your real life becomes a fiction, and you’re free to be whoever you want to be.
Beatrice Laus is well acquainted with the prospect of escapism, it’s something she has done throughout her life. Her musical moniker, beabadoobee, is her way of processing the tumult of emotions and thoughts that pass through her mind – an audible journal that is her gift to herself. But with new album Beatopia, she drifts further back to the imaginary land which lends the album its name.
Like so many who navigated a tough time in childhood, Beatopia proved Bea’s safe space, offering her security, comfort and hope in a time where she felt there was none. As a Southeast Asian child at a London Catholic all-girls school, she was bullied to the point of beginning therapy at the tender age of seven. In an interview with Kerrang!, she reflects on how Beatopia became her reality. “I was completely obsessed with it. I was kidding myself that it was actually a real thing and that everything in my life wasn’t real,” she says, adding “if I didn’t have Beatopia to express my creativity, I would have been just a quiet little kid that was sad all the time.”
And the bullying even extended to her teacher, who shamed her in front of her class for a drawing of her imaginary place. She promptly shut doors on her safe space that, once tainted, no longer felt so safe. Now, with a pandemic-induced isolation allowing her to peel back her layers, Bea’s reclamation of Beatopia has led to her creating it anew.
“Now, with a pandemic-induced isolation allowing her to peel back her layers, Bea’s reclamation of Beatopia has led to her creating it anew”
While recent single ‘Talk’ evokes her punchier interpretation of shoegaze-dipped indie rock, the following tracks ‘See You Soon’ and ‘fairy song’ offer a more whimsical tone, with Bea’s dreamy vocals drifting through melodies like a contemplative breeze. Elsewhere and reflecting on a still-smarting break-up, the tugging themes of ‘Lovesong’ taste bittersweet despite its whimsical sound, while new single ‘Sunny Day’ sees Bea long for simple times.
This broader sound mirrors the endless possibility of her childhood imagination. Where debut album Fake It Flowers saw Bea act out her negativity in “the worst way possible… where I’m just ‘blah blah blah’ about every f***ed up thing that’s happened in my life,” Beatopia processes her hurt in a healthier manner.
And now that the circle is closed, Bea is free to weave her next daydream, with the realisation that “Beatopia was something that I had never lost, but was trying to find” not lost on her. May we all dig a little deeper, and open ourselves up to boundless possibilities.
beabadoobee – ‘Sunny Day’
As aforementioned, Beatopia sees beabadoobee transcend the potential of Fake It Flowers and open herself to new possibilities – of creativity, sound and potential. Released alongside the album, ‘Sunny Day’ echoes the dreamy whimsicality of ‘See You Soon’ with its breezy guitar tone and lackadaisical rhythm. Underpinned by an affable melody, its ease only emphasises Bea’s earnest tone, as she apologises for past actions and muses on tender moments and lazy days. The power really is in the simplest things.
Lizzo – ‘2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)’
“I did the work, it didn’t work. The truth, it hurts,” opens Lizzo, on her new single ‘2 Be Loved’. Dropping in tandem with her anticipated fourth album Special – which follows the stratospheric Cuz I Love You, the album that turned her into a household name with tracks like ‘Truth Hurts’ – ‘2 Be Loved’ similarly encapsulates the resilient essence of what she is about. Her latest track’ sees Lizzo reframe the potential for romance and earnestly reflect it on herself; in searching for a lover, is she truly ready to be emotionally vulnerable in the way the other deserves? Instead of getting pensive in her introspection, ‘2 Be Loved’ is fuelled by a buoyant hope with its peppy 1980s-reminiscent production (thanks Max Martin) and stomping beat. It’s a treat.
Rico Nasty – ‘Skullflower’
Rico Nasty is definitely no stranger to ruffling some feathers. Dropping ahead of her anticipated mixtape Las Ruinas, new single ‘Skullflower’ follows recent outing ‘Black Punk’ and is the flipside to the latter’s darkly murky underbelly. Largely unrecognisable as a sibling, ‘Skullflower’ switches the chunky core, abrasive production, and vitriolic delivery the rapper has become renowned for in favour of a flavour more sugary sweet. Injecting the trademark machinations of hyperpop atop a pulsing rhythm and pitched vocals, the visuals amp up the spiky cuteness with Rico spinning through a field of sunflowers. “Im not tryna go number one,” said Rico in a recent tweet. “Im just making music that I like again . If you don’t get it . Then don’t .”
Mykki Blanco – ‘French Lessons’ feat. Kelsey Lu
Following on from their recent May Diana Gordon and Sam Buck collab, ‘Your Love Was a Gift’, Mykki Blanco returns with new single ‘French Lessons’. Dropping in tandem with the announcement of their upcoming third album Stay Close to the Music, the track enlists singer and cellist Kelsey Lu for a turn at tugging at listener’s heartstrings with their lovelorn vocals. Taking inspiration from “talk singers” like Lou Reed, Tom Petty, and Jonathan Richmond of the Modern Lovers certainly makes Mykki sound more ruminatory than we’re accustomed, but only exemplifies the track’s refrained yearning. “The song is a reflection of the possibility of true love,” shares Mykki. “On the notion that one can truly experience what we see in the Hollywood films.’
Bella Poarch – ‘Dolls’
No, your eyes don’t deceive you: that is Grimes in Bella Poarch’s new video for ‘Dolls’. The navy veteran turned viral TikTok sensation is hot on the way to securing her status as a high-priority pop star following a succession of hit singles; debut ‘Build a Bitch’ saw her channel Ariana Grandé-esque R&B into a slickly feminist piece of pop, while ‘Inferno’, her collab with Sub Urban, shared her more playful side. Reinforcing this signature blend of independent defiance with a temptatious air, the track “is all about self-empowerment and confidence” and “the importance of helping one another while also not letting anyone make you feel weak or worthless.”