For all intents and purposes, I am a “lyrics guy”. Meaning, I have an easy time falling for artists who place an extra importance on the lyrical content of their songs instead of just putting some silly lovesong bullshit to a nice melody, which is what I assume most of the world wants out of any given song. This gameness for lyrically-minded artists probably started during my high school obsession over Bob Dylan, and has reaffirmed itself during the first few months of this year as I spent a lot of January and February getting in to The Mountain Goats. So it was pretty much a lock that I would fall for Courtney Barnett’s debut album (though it feels more like a confident sophomore effort, due to her last release being a “double EP”). However, I don’t know that it’s just the wonderful drollness of Barnett’s lyrics that make her a force to be reckoned with, but more just that her entire laconic vibe makes her the type of personality that you’d wanna hang out with, and so far I’ve been having a hell of a time hanging out with Barnett over the course of Sometimes I Sit And Think‘s eleven tracks.
I have to assume that Barnett’s force of personality (or anti-force of personality) is also what makes her and her band’s approach to ’90s-inspired guitar rock feel way more fresh than it has any right to be. And don’t get me wrong, I’ll usually be open to this kind of return to slackerdom that has manifested itself in a lot of young bands in the last few years, but it rarely ever gets me that excited. Barnett on the other hand, has such an acute sense of detail in songs like “Depreston”, which recounts things like buying a percolator in order to save $23 dollars a month on coffee or the merits of pressed-metal ceilings. Yet despite her assured perceptiveness, Barnett’s never afraid to declare herself a total wreck, like on lead single “Pedestrian At Best”, whose loudness sees Barnett and her band of bearded Aussie dudes rocking harder than they’ve ever rocked before.
Speaking of Sometimes I Sit And Think‘s inherent Aussie-ness, I think you do have to thank the Southern Hemisphere’s reversed seasons for the perfect timing of this album. Because I feel like a lot of inappropriately winter-y albums end up getting released in the spring and summer, mainly because they were recorded during the colder months. But luckily this album was (I assume) recorded during Australia’s summer months, and thus feels like a perfect summer album (there’s even a song about surfing!) Also, there’s charmingly-titled song towards the end of the album (“Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party”), whose chorus goes “I wanna go out / But I wanna stay home”, which will surely be a sentiment that will haunt me every night as the weather continues to get better and better while I fail to appreciate it. Luckily, I’ll have Courtney Barnett and her plainspoken wisdom to accompany me during every one of those inevitable summer nights spent in doors.
Favorite Tracks: “Pedestrian At Best”, “Depreston”, “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party”