Songs You Should Know: Beach House – “Somewhere Tonight”

In my last two years of high school, I went to four proms.

Yes, four. One in my Junior year, three in my Senior.

I don’t think I realized what I had done until I had three corsages in hand. I wasn’t obsessed with the idea of proms nor even remotely “a stud” back then, but I do think there’s something charmingly constant about Senior proms. The dance floor is a petri dish of people that suffered puberty with you, sure, but the inevitable last slow jam (which is always “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, no matter which Senior prom you’re at) followed by driving off aimlessly into the night with friends feels like some necessary teenage rite in retrospect.

It might be because the fittingly titled Teen Dream came out around the time of said proms, but I feel like Beach House understand that head space of post-prom wandering. Every album is a slow evolution, the dead thump of their dated drum machine as familiar as Alex Scally’s woozy guitar work or Victoria Legrand’s stunningly husky voice. Kept mostly in the dark save a few projections against cloth structures and a starry night backdrop, their set on Friday occupied the aesthetics of a basement after party far more than a sold out show at House of Blues.

After a smirking reference to the teen comedy Dazed and Confused (one of her favorites, she professed), Legrand launched into the performance of the night with “Somewhere Tonight”, the dreamy closing track from last year’s Thank Your Lucky Stars. Argue what you will of Beach House’s relatively unchanging sound or the two albums they released within six months last year (and this is coming from one of the few that defend Stars over Depression Cherry some days), but the Baltimore duo know how to attempt adolescent emotionality without curdling into the overwrought. As the House of Blues’s massive disco ball whirred to life, the shame of being a four-time prom attendee melted a little in the Twin Peaks-esque doo-wop worship of “Tonight”. Proms will never not be an embarrassing ritual, but Friday’s set proved that improvement is possible if we occasionally retire Boyz II Men and let Beach House have their slow dance crown.