Oh Courtney Barnett, Let me count the ways I love thee…
B is for “Babe call me…like for real”
A is for “Aqua Profunda!”
R is for “Really.. why haven’t you called yet?”
N is for “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To the Party”
E is for …..ok enough onto the review…
I first heard Ms. Barnett through good old college radio (shout out 91.1 WRUW!) and thy tune was “Nobody Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” and I remember being left with a tinge of “wow, that’s a pretty catchy, cool song. I wonder if she’ll take off.” Nothing like a little contradictory duality of man..err woman I mean, going on in a song. Awkwardness, thou is mine friend. So at this point based on buzz I was hearing I checked out “Pedestrian At Best”. When did this woman start writing lyrics like this? Where can I get me some of this? “I think you’re a joke/ But I don’t find you very funny”. “Give me all your money/ And I’ll make some origami honey”. She’s like the good parts of old Liz Phair, The Breeders, mixed with the poeticness of Bob Dylan and I REALLLYY didn’t think I’d ever write that sentence. So at this point it’s like “well shit… let’s check out other songs of hers.
Then I came upon “History Eraser” from her previous album and every crush I ever had came back. I mean, that Mellotron over top the track… Goddamn… Then that chorus. “In my brain I rearrange the letters on the page to spell your name”. Who hasn’t done that? Have someone overtake your mind so much that you look at normal everyday words and still find those letters to spell your crushes name and that becomes your primary focus? Then again there’s the duality of having it be called “History Eraser” and talking of “drank three margaritas, danced with sweet senoritas” and on the way back home a man serenaded her with “a triplet song”. The alcohol is the history eraser. Once again we’ve all been there. Someone you can only drink away. Courtney Barnett 2, Josh 0.
So I look further. I find “Avant Gardner”. The song all about how a girl just wants to escape the crap she’s going through and decides to start gardening to pass the time peacefully and then starts having a crazy allergic reaction. Once again, me in a nutshell. Chalk another one up for Courtney, looks like a blow out here folks. I would do something as simple as trying to plant things to forget someone and I’d discover I had allergies. A little cosmic irony. Makes the world go round.
I picked up her album shortly afterwards. And it kinda fired on all cylinders even from the first listen. I found more songs that I wasn’t familiar with and ended up loving like “Aqua Profunda!”, “Dead Fox”, and “Debbie Downer”. “Aqua” is basically about her swimming, nothing else. This might sound boring but it’s one of the better songs on the album. This woman can write about pretty much anything. I almost want her to just follow me around for a day and then write about what I did, and she’d find a way to make it fucking epic. It’d be some cool indie rock song about how I went to work and then came home, wrote one of these articles and drank a beer or two, but it’d be amazing cause she wrote it. “Dead Fox” is a song about truckers in her native land of Australia where animals like Kangaroos and such are much more common than in the states, and even features the lyrics of “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you” like you’ve seen on the back of a bunch of trucks. Seriously how much does it cost to hire this woman to narrate my life? Some people want someone like Morgan Freeman to narrate said life and while I understand the significance due to the man’s epic voice I can’t say the dialogue would be nearly as good as if Courtney wrote it. Was this girl an English major or something I’m not aware of? “Debbie” is just so poppy and happy and just makes you wanna dance almost. It’s that cool jangly, catchy rock that she’s really good at but it still has some kind of a message because she’s just that good of a lyricist on top of things. She writes good melodies, she writes good lyrics. This is the whole package guys. Somebody put a ring on this girl’s finger. By the way did you hear the way “Kim’s Caravan” swells and builds and comes back again much like an ocean tide rolling in and dying and being reborn again? The cool spooky trilling guitar in the verse, the detuning chords rolling in mimicking the very waters she’s referencing at the beginning.
Also she does a cool cover of “Cannonball” by The Breeders. See her live, heard she’s “life changing”. Thanks random cute girl who got to her album on vinyl before I did. Duly noted. Also the album title is taken off a picture that used to be in her grandma’s bathroom… this just made the album cooler.