Courtney Barnett “Sometime I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit”
Unless you have been sat under a rock for the last few months, it is highly unlikely that the name Courtney Barnett will be new to you. She has been picked up by all the supposed ‘cool’ music magazines and stations and been receiving loads of airplay on 6 music. Of course, we all know that exposure doesn’t always mean the artist is actually any good (although to be fair 6 music are normally pretty on the ball!).
“Elevator Operator” is a great opener and sets the tone for the whole album. The song structure is deceptively simple and is dominated by the throwaway vocal style. Songs like that and “An illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In New York)” have a laid back coolness that you just can’t buy or fake.
The single “Pedestrian At Best” will now be very familiar and rightly so as it’s a great song with crunching guitars and a sense of youthful frustration. Along with “Aqua Profunda!” they have a catchy rock n roll feel, even when dealing with mundane lines like swimming and jogging! Along with “Dead Fox” they show that amongst the ‘slacker’ approach there is a recognition that you need a catchy hook to capture a listener. Indeed, that extends to a pure pop sound on “Debbie Downer”.
The other key feature of Courtney’s work is her lyrical style. Songs Like “Depreston” have a real neat line in delivering lyrics about everyday events, such as coffee and house buying, in a totally throwaway and irreverent way. Whilst the contents of the lyrics may be very different, songs like “Don’t Go To The Party” have us thinking of The Hold Steady. That’s partly due to the spoken word vocal approach over the grungy indie guitar sound. Also, you get the impression that in her music, Courtney is speaking for a particular generation or at least a specific crowd. You get the sense that songs like “Burning Day Blues” will be played on repeat again and again by her fans who are in search of guidance.
The exposure that she has generated is, in some ways, quite unexpected, the music itself is not necessarily revolutionary but instead is portably a great example of expressing your musical influences in your own way. The key to the quality of the album is the sense of being genuine and authentic. The ‘slacker music’ tag that is often attached to Courtney Barnett is a bit simplistic. In particular when that tag has often been attached to individuals who don’t have the necessary talent and hide it through image. The opposite is the case with Courtney Barnett as she uses it to just emphasise the feeling of disenchantment that just possesses so many of these tracks. This is something that has clearly been picked up by her ever growing legion of fans.