The music of Courtney Barnett isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of coffee. It’s not particularly melodic and she doesn’t put a ton of emphasis on her singing, but she seems to be just fine with that, practically shouting it out with the line “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you.”
It’s the sort of line that lays all the blame on everyone else for having any sort of negative feelings toward her music. She takes it one step further with the next line from Pedestrian At Best, “Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you.”
Clearly, she doesn’t care. She’s not out for fame or to be at the top of the charts. She’s simply shooting through her album, one grungy song after another, saying what she wants to say, and ending it at that. She just isn’t interested in anything else. And that makes for a pretty liberating record.
On Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney’s first full-length LP, her strengths are her lyrics. Without the type of self-reservation one accepts when recording music in hopes of appealing to a specific audience, there’s a freedom to say what you want. In lieu of melodies and crisp vocals are witty lyrics from a realist perspective over garage-sound recordings that are aggressive but not threatening.
Often times, the lyrics play as a conversation, sometimes two-way, sometimes not. On An Illustration of Loneliness, Courtney lays her thoughts out without any sort of flow, ending each verse with “I’m thinking of you too,” the one constant in a random flow of consciousness.
It’s a borderline anxious album. When she sings about social flaws, insecurities and being introverted, she’s perfectly fine with it, even if social interaction is terrifying. She’s less so on topics such as gentrification or environmental issues, which she addresses as concerns but doesn’t preach about.
Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is good. Not because it’s unlike most everything else coming out this side of 2000, but because it provides thought-provoking lyrics and a refreshing take on songwriting for the sake of laying it out there without any sort of restriction whatsoever.
1. Elevator Operator
2. Pedestrian At Best
3. An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepess In New York)
4. Small Poppies
6. Aqua Profunda!
7. Dead Fox
8. Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party
9. Debbie Downer
10. Kim’s Caravan
11. Boxing Day Blues