The musical career of Bea Kristi—beabadoobee—has taken off as they often do with Gen Z: via TikTok. More specifically, Coffee a song she wrote and recorded at home (earning her the label "bedroom pop"), was sampled in emo-rapper Powfu's death bed (coffee for your head) which ended up being a smash on the social-media platform. "Smash," as in heard more than 10 billion times. As a result, Coffee now has more than 50 million Spotify plays.
The twist is that Kristi wants little to do with the carefully packaged soundbites of the modern era; she told NME she longs to "live in the '90s." And, as with her female peers Beach Bunny, Soccer Mommy and Diet Cig, the Phillipine-born Londoner—who was born in 2000—wears her three-decade-old influences on her sleeve. On her much-anticipated full-length debut, there are echoes of Juliana Hatfield (the twee Care), Cocteau Twins (Further Away), Veruca Salt (Yoshimi Forest Magdalene) and the Sundays (Emo Song's sweetly twinkling sunshine). You can hear traces of both Lush and Nirvana on Charlie Brown which kicks in from a pleasant simmer to a roaring grunge thump—like the best artists of the slacker-rock era, Kristi has a masterful understanding of the power of quiet-to-storm dynamics. (Exhibit B: the irresistible Together).
Also in common with the emotions that fueled so much '90s alt-rock, beabadoobee's lyrics are fueled by alienation and wrestling with romantic complexities. "'Cause I miss all the fuck ups we've had/ 'Cause even then you're the best that I've had," she sings on the truly lo-fi How Was Your Day?. The dreamy-swirly Horen Sarrison, written for her boyfriend Soren Harrison, finds her crooning with no rage: "I'm going to keep you quiet and I hope you feel the same ... I don't want you to feel comfortable." It's all familiar but extremely fresh; Kristi is making music for a right-now generation. Strip away today's technological trappings, and you'll find that post-teen, figuring-it-all-out emotions are eternal.