There are many theories as to why Beach House released Thank Your Lucky Stars just a couple months after putting out their first album of 2015, Depression Cherry. Personally, I’ve started to think they did it just to make me feel insane. I’m not one to necessarily share consensus opinions ever, but I felt pretty alone in loving this album and in perceiving a wide gap in quality between it and its predecessors.
Worst of all, I still don’t have a satisfying explanation for why I like Thank Your Lucky Stars so much more than the rest of Beach House’s work, which drives me nuts as a writer and just as someone who likes to think about why I like the things I like. So I’m left trying to explain the unexplainable, that subjective aspect of music that makes it click for me, but maybe doesn’t impact other people the same way. If nothing else, the decision to release two albums in a year made for an interesting litmus test on taste and what we all value in the music we listen to.
My not-at-all-widely-shared perspective is that Thank Your Lucky Stars taps into something that other Beach House music doesn’t. While the band’s previous music was known for being warm and inviting, this album has a dusty chill that makes the songs feel more ambiguous. Thank Your Lucky Stars ends up feeling different while still absolutely sounding like Beach House due to some kind of musical butterfly effect: the band twiddles a couple knobs, changes some small details, and suddenly the end product feels entirely different.
These are pretty much the accepted differences in Thank Your Lucky Stars, and from there it’s a matter of subjectivity and taste. I think this vibe suits the band much more and feels a lot fresher than the played-out “warm and sunny” sound. Victoria Legrand’s vocals feel less processed and more natural, the lyrics are more interesting (especially the doomier passages like “Elegy to the Void”), and the band’s usual collection of guitars and organs actually sound better because of the different context.
Those are my basic attempts at explaining why I love this album, but I’ve accepted that part of what makes Thank Your Lucky Stars great is that it is so inscrutable and just makes me feel how I do at a gut level. It’s the album I always wanted Beach House to make, even if I’m not entirely sure why.