Top 10 Beths Songs

The Beths Songs

Feature Photo: David Lee, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Originating from Auckland in 2014, The Beths have carved out a niche in the indie rock scene of New Zealand. The band’s core lineup features Elizabeth Stokes on lead vocals, Jonathan Pearce handling the guitar work, Benjamin Sinclair on the bass, and Tristan Deck keeping the rhythm on drums. Their journey began during their jazz studies at the University of Auckland, leading to their eventual partnership with Carpark Records in 2018. This collaboration resulted in the release of their albums: “Future Me Hates Me” in 2018, “Jump Rope Gazers” in 2020, and “Expert in a Dying Field” in 2022. The band has gained international recognition, sharing stages with notable acts such as Death Cab for Cutie and The National, and earning accolades from esteemed publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.

The roots of The Beths trace back to Elizabeth Stokes and Jonathan Pearce’s high school days, with their musical journey intertwining with Benjamin Sinclair and Ivan Luketina-Johnston at the University of Auckland. Before forming The Beths, the trio was part of Sal Valentine’s backing ensemble, The Babyshakes, led by Luketina-Johnston. The band’s official formation came towards the end of 2014, marking their entry into the music scene with the single “Idea/Intent” on SoundCloud in mid-2015. Stokes drew inspiration for the band’s name from her own, reminiscent of the naming choice in the TV show “Gilmore Girls.” Their initial musical offerings included the “Warm Blood” EP in 2016, featuring the standout track “Whatever,” accompanied by a music video.

The Beths’ journey has been supported by significant backing from NZ on Air and the NZ Music Commission, aiding in their creative endeavors and international outreach. The release of “Great No One” in late 2017 signaled the upcoming arrival of their debut album, “Future Me Hates Me,” which saw global distribution in August 2018 under Carpark Records and Dew Process. The album’s title track was recognized as a finalist for New Zealand’s 2018 Silver Scroll award, underscoring the band’s growing influence.

The departure of Luketina-Johnston in 2018 saw the band continue as a trio before welcoming Tristan Deck into the fold. The end of 2018 brought a festive release from The Beths, with a special seven-inch vinyl featuring a cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and a demo of “Happy Unhappy,” the latter earning the title of Rolling Stone’s song of the summer for 2018.

The following years saw The Beths expanding their discography with “Jump Rope Gazers” in 2020 and “Expert in a Dying Field” in 2022, further solidifying their presence in the indie rock realm. Their music, characterized by harmonious vocals and influenced by bands like Alvvays and Rilo Kiley, continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, including notable figures like former President Barack Obama, who featured their track “Watching The Credits” on his summer playlist in 2023.

# 10 – You Wouldn’t Like Me

Opening up our ten best songs from The Beths is the poignant hit “You Wouldn’t Like Me.” The song is featured on the band’s debut studio album, Future Me Hates Me. This was the inaugural studio album by the indie rock ensemble The Beths from New Zealand, marking their first full-length venture following the “Warm Blood” EP in 2016. Jonathan Pearce, the group’s lead guitarist, took the helm in production, crafting the album within the intimate confines of his own studio located on Auckland’s Karangahape Road. Released under the Carpark Records label on the 10th of August, 2018, the album showcases a collection of songs penned by Elizabeth Stokes, the band’s lead vocalist, who is responsible for the lyrical content.

# 9 – Out of Sight 

“Out of Sight” was released on the band’s sophomore studio album Jump Rope Gazers. Jonathan Pearce and Elizabeth Stokes’ guitar work at the song’s start is just stunning.  The song finds Elizabeth Stokes contemplating remaining dedicated to a loved one.  More like a ballad to one’s declaration of “In sickness and in health,” as Stokes once revealed in an interview. Elizabeth went ahead to commend Benjamin Sinclair for his impressive work on the bass, citing the basslines to be quite melodic.

# 8 – Silence is Golden

Number eight on our ten best songs from The Beths is the striking hit “Silence is Golden.” The Beths issued the song on the album Expert in Dying Field. Like most songs off Expert in Dying Field, “Silence is Golden” finds the band featuring less of its self-deprecatory themes, venturing into more existential themes. Issued in June 2022, “Silence is Golden” finds The Beths singing about stress and anxiety.

# 7 – Little Death

In the song “Little Death” Elizabeth Stokes sings about mental torment that emanates from falling head over heels for someone while still possessing some fear of the unknown. The song was released on the album Future Me Hates Me.  The album was released in 2018.

# 6 – Happy Unhappy

Coming in at number six on our list of ten best songs from The Beths is the charming hit “Happy Unhappy.” The song looks at the quandary of happy relationships in which sometimes love can become just too much for at least one of the two involved. Some people can just become a little bit too suffocating without realizing it.

# 5 Dying to Believe

Let’s roll back to the band’s sophomore studio album, Jump Rope Gazers, where we find the striking pop-rock hit “Dying to Believe.” Once more, Elizabeth takes The Beths through the band’s signature self-deprecatory lyrical themes. In this song, Stokes sings about how being calm can leads to resentment against herself, specifically after indulging in conversations that she dislikes. Stokes went on to reveal in an interview that her nature has led her to hold on to some “toxic” relationships that should have ended sometime earlier. Additional vocals from comedian Rose Matafeo can be heard alongside Stokes’ vocal delivery.

#4 – Whatever

“Whatever” was first featured on the band’s debut extended play, Warm Blood. Later, it was featured on the band’s debut studio album, Future Me Hates Me. Like most songs on the EP Warm Blood, “Whatever” is delivered with infectious hooks fired up by the energetic guitar riffs. “Whatever” has its lyrics alluding to Stokes’ encounter with a close individual who constantly annoys her resulting in a broken heart.

# 3 – Expert in Dying Field

“Expert in Dying Field” serves as the album opener and title track to the band’s third studio album. “Expert in Dying Field” finds the singer grappling with emotions from an ended intimate relationship. The song became one of the band’s concert staple tracks immediately after its release. This is a fun one.

# 2 – I’m Not Getting Excited

“I’m Not Excited” is the archetypal hit to The Beths’ musicianship on the band’s sophomore studio album Jump Rope Gazers. This relentless power pop ballad is by far one of the band’s most charged-up rockers ever issued. Elizabeth gives us a taste of her falsetto vocals in the chorus. The song opens up with some killer fuzz guitar playing by Jonathan Pearce.

# 1 – Future Me Hates Me

We close out our  top 10 Beths songs lost with the title track from the Future Me Hates Me album. The songs defines wahy we love this band so much. The guitar work pulsates with echos of 90s alternative vibes. Elizabeth’s vocals are just captivating. The band sounds more like a great 90s band than anything else. That’s a compliment because there was a lot of fantastic alternative music that came out of that decade that has kind of gotten lost. The Betehs have brought it all back with fresh new material that rocks hard.

Top 10 Songs From The Beths article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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