Bestfriend Leave It All Behind on 'places i've left'

BY Eva ZhuPublished Apr 20, 2023

It seems like 2023 is the year of the anxious and angsty millennial (and Gen Z cusp?) album. From Paramore's This Is Why to boygenius' the record, this year has been rife with music perfect for staring out the window and crying with your notifications off. Vancouver/Toronto duo Bestfriend deliver another richly layered addition to the roster with their sophomore EP places i've left.

Bestfriend is made up of real life long-distance buddies Stacy Kim and Kaelan Geoffrey; although Kim is based in Vancouver and Geoffrey in Toronto, the duo manage to create some sonically gorgeous tunes that bridge that distance with pure feeling, evoking a storm of melancholy that threatens to topple even the most emotionally stable among us — the ones who think they've got it all figured out. 

The EP's dreamy opener "PLACES" paints a bridge to a new chapter of life; soft piano and a driving, subliminal beat conjure a guiding hand on your back, gently pushing you in the right direction and all the while reassuring that you're not fucking it all up. It turns out whatever it is you've been holding a grudge about doesn't actually matter in the grand scheme of things — there are ways forward.  

And maybe there's really no such thing as "fucking it up" when the world is designed to be unconquerable, says "LEMON LIME." Kim starts off the earworm by attempting to say the hook in one go, predictably running out of breath and perfectly encapsulating the unwinnable rat race. The auto-tuned "oohs" that hover in the background add a necessary dimension and keep the track from feeling too sonically one-note, while the ramshackle, staccato drums maintain the groove in opposition to the song's glimmering synths.

If you're one of the lucky ones who hasn't experienced the debilitating restlessness of anxiety, then "Anxious People" might clue you in: "I think I'm dying / I think it's more than just a cold / I've run out of ideas / And I can't stay composed" describes the daily toll of being a hot mess, Kim's measured delivery keeping just calm enough to steady the pace. The dissonant electric guitar that flails across the bridge is a welcome change in texture, showcasing the duo's adventurous technical prowess.

The brief, interlude-like "Tuesday Waltz" is a slowed down piano-and-guitar lullaby that feels like a reassuring hug, as Kim promises that there are always things, and people, you can count on — the sun still sets and the stars still come out. 

Closer "Love Always Came So Easy for You," flips the script just slightly before the EP bows out, as Kim throws digs at a wandering flake, the kind of person who seems to float through life while dragging you in their wake. Backed by 808s and chiming synths, Kim recalls a litany of complaints, a bittersweet send-off to someone she's ultimately better off without. For Kim and Geoffrey, who can come off so unaffected by others, it's nice to know in these final minutes that they're more human than they let on.

Geoffrey once said that the duo picked the name Bestfriend because it "feels like a hug," and the same can be said for the entirety of places i've left — a long, comforting embrace; a matter-of-fact pat-on-the-back; an anxious squeeze and a reluctant side hug — the EP covers the spectrum of feeling in short order, a roadmap for finding somewhere new. 

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