Bea Kristi, the British singer-songwriter behind the tongue-twisting moniker Beabadoobee, is bringing ’90s indie-rock back — even though she was born in 2000.
Some may recognize the Beabadoobee name from her 2017 hit “Coffee” — which boasts over 50 million streams on Spotify — or from Powfu’s recent remix of the track, “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head),” which blew up on TikTok and became the sixth most-streamed song of the summer.
Beabadoobee is certainly a hard name to forget, though it wasn’t exactly thought out. “Oh my God,” Kristi sighs when asked by Variety about the name’s origins. “Long story short, I obviously didn’t expect any of this to happen, so when it came time to put [her songs] online, my friend Oscar was like, ‘You have to choose a name,’ and I didn’t have one, so I told him to use my Finsta name, Beabadoobee. Now it’s with me for the rest of my life.”
Though “Coffee” is a lo-fi, bedroom pop ballad backed only by an acoustic guitar, on her debut full-length album, “Fake It Flowers” — out today via Dirty Hit/ Interscope Records — Kristi has turned up the volume and delivered a 12-track trip of ’90s nostalgia: Think of the pop-rock princesses of the late ’90s and early 2000s — Liz Phair, Mazzy Star, Courtney Love, even Avril Lavigne — and add the musings of a modern-day teen navigating social media, hookup culture and a global pandemic.
It’s no coincidence that many of her creative influences hail from that era, a list that includes Alanis Morissette, The Cranberries, Veruca Salt, Elliot Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.
“I feel like with music from that time just happens to thread its way within the music I write today — sometimes without me realizing it, and sometimes on purpose,” Kristi tells Variety. “Because if there’s a guitar sound I really like, I’m obviously going to copy it — you know nothing’s really original these days. I listened to a lot of that music growing up – my mom used to play Alanis and the Cranberries and they very much inspired me.”
Movies were also a well of inspiration for Kristi when writing “Fake It Flowers,” which explains why nearly every song on the album sounds like it could fit right in with the soundtrack of any Y2K film staple, like “10 Things I Hate About You” or “She’s All That.”
Kristi says the films “The Craft” and “But I’m a Cheerleader” both specifically influenced the making of “Fake It Flowers,” because their soundtracks are, as she puts it, “purely all women, just badass chicks.”
Though she only picked up a guitar three years ago, Kristi shows the makings of a seasoned songwriter, enveloping emotionally vulnerable lyrics in head bang-worthy guitar riffs and sticky hooks.
“Care,” “Together” and “Dye It Red” are especially strong examples, each one conveying the frustrating downfall of a relationship in the digital age. Through being open about her own experiences, Kristi says she hopes that the album can empower other women to be confident in themselves.
“I feel like I wear my heart on my sleeve on this record, and I really hope that it helps other girls like me who are going through the same thing,” Kristi says. “It’s okay to be annoying, it’s okay to be loud, it’s okay to whine about stupid sh–.”
More than anything, Kristi wants “Fake It Flowers” to be an album people can dance to, in contrast to her lo-fi projects of the past.
“Every time I’m sad, I dance in my pants [underwear] in front of my mirror in my room like nobody’s watching. I don’t know how to dance and it looks so dumb, but it’s honestly the most freeing, empowering thing to do and it makes me so happy,” Kristi says. “I want ‘Fake It Flowers’ to be that album for girls. Like just be whatever the f— you want to be, you know? No one’s stopping you.”