Ranked: Beach House

In this article, I’ve taken on the task of ranking every project (worst to best) that Beach House has released since their inception in 2006.

Treasured for their lavish and alluring dreamscapes, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are amongst the best when it comes to creating music that transports you to another enticing world. Clearly, the Baltimore duo’s music possesses an intoxicating quality which has cast me and many others under its spell. Let’s take a closer look at each album and their defining songs. 

8. Beach House (2006)

There is much beauty to be found in the duo’s self-titled debut album, despite its low placement. It is perhaps a bit rougher around the edges than some of their more polished work, but the imperfect blemishes lend their hand to a sort of disorderly elegance that only the most talented of artists can tap into. I was particularly enamored by the swooning lullaby “Apple Orchard,” that evoked feelings of hazy nostalgia for a lover I never had. This is a fantastic debut album, but it does not reach the illustrious heights of Beach House’s later work.

7. Devotion (2008)

Devotion possesses a more earnest soul than Beach House’s debut work. It also feels as though there is more depth to be explored. Undoubtedly, Legrand and Scally are growing more confident in their ability on this album and that confidence is emanating through the music. This is markedly evident on the track “Gila”, which I can best describe as the twinging of that persistent strain of bitterness that remains even at the brightest of times. I am also fond of the track “Turtle Island”, which walks a delicate tightrope between sugary tenderness and forlorn aching.

6. Thank Your Lucky Stars (2015)

Thank Your Lucky Stars doesn’t quite reach the pinnacle of Beach House’s wistfulness, but it will certainly inspire sentimental introspection. It is a more intimate project than some of their seemingly ever-expanding and unsuppressed albums, but with this intimacy comes a sense of poise and resolve that you can grasp onto like a piece of driftwood anchoring you to the expanse of the ocean. You are quite aware that your surroundings are wild and lawless, unperturbed by your presence, but it is this very sense of immense power encompassing you that makes you feel alive. The project comes to a perfect close with a sauntering croon in the form of “Somewhere Tonight”. 

5. Teen Dream (2010)

Teen Dream is, as its name implies, an expression of the longing to recapture fleeting youth. By no means do Scally and Legrand radically transform the formula, but they execute it to perfection. It is easy to attach yourself to the affectionate motherly hug that is the album’s final track “Take Care,” or the sympathetic flashbacks to a simpler childhood conjured by “Norway”. While still maintaining their signature layered and dense sound, Beach House manages to keep you feeling light and full of life following the ten track album’s conclusion. 

4. 7 (2018)

7 is, in a peculiar way, the antithesis to Teen Dream. It is heavy and rich. It is a voyage through hypnotic sludge, almost sinister in the way it draws you in. “Dark Spring” sets the ominous tone as it captures the foreboding uneasiness that comes with being at the top of the world. “Lemon Glow” oozes its way into your pores. “Drunk In LA” is the silent cry for help that gets let out only after it has all come crumbling down. This album is spectacular and it pains me to rank it fourth, but the greatness of the next albums cannot be denied. 

3. Once Twice Melody (2022)

In a word, Once Twice Melody is lush. It is romantic, infatuating, and grandiose. My only gripe with Once Twice Melody is that its eighteen song length can feel a bit cumbersome. Despite this, Scally and Legrand manage to produce some of the most dynamic and irresistible songs of their seventeen year career. “Pink Funeral” is the bitter but mystical final celebration before inevitable death. “New Romance” is the vivacious spectacle of vibrant colors as the final breaths are drawn. Once Twice Melody is incomparably ambitious and it executes on those ambitions to achieve great heights. 

2. Bloom (2012)

There are truly no weak points throughout Bloom. Each and every song entrances you in atmospheric extravagance. It’s a project that takes you places that both feel so strangely familiar, yet thrillingly unexplored. Perhaps no song inspires this feeling better than the opening track “Myth”. The dulcet sounds linger, indulging you in a sense of wonder. “Lazuli” is another track that flawlessly captures the sublime. Usually the magic dissipates just before we can quite comprehend the sublime, but Bloom allows you to suspend those moments in time and behold them in their totality.

1. Depression Cherry (2015)

Depression Cherry is stargazing in an album. It encapsulates the profound beauty that is the universe’s immense, intricate, and divine design. The synth guitars will spur you to surrender your will to the cosmos. You might already be familiar with Scally and Legrand’s breathtaking “Space Song”, but I encourage you to delve deeper into the depths of the sorrowful “PPP”, or the shimmering sunrise that is the opening track “Levitation”. There is nothing that I would change about this album. It is an immaculate embodiment of bewitching brilliance. 

Max Ray writes for the Content Team. He wrote the article. Lyle Rumon is .wavzine’s Operations Manager. He helped write the article. V Pond is on the Art Team. She made the graphic.