Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit – By Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett’s album came out in March 2015 – I had just seen this out on the Pitchfork list of best albums and decided to give it a try. Right away I recognized “Pedestrian at Best” on track #2 – I had heard it weeks before on public radio and I loved it immediately because it called to mind a mixture of my three favorite girl-rock songs: “Kool Thing” sung by Kim Gordon, “Seether” by Veruca Salt, and “Never say Never” by Romeo Void. Hmmmm, I thought – this girl can ROCK!
But let’s start with track #1. A great rhythmic start to the album, with a spoken-word style that showcases Courtney’s sarcastic and darkly humorous treatment of semi-dark, sorta jaded, daily disenchantment. There’s something about the dichotomy of bouncy, upbeat chords against lyrics pleading “don’t’ jump little boy!” that make you stop and think. Yikes!
Track #3 sounds exactly like a Sheryl Crow song – think of this as Courtney’s updated version of “All I Wanna Do”. Same swanky beat, complete with a bit of sassy twang. Next is “Small Poppies” – the “Sleepwalking” doo-wop piece of her album – fittingly hazy and lazy for a song title that calls to mind um, opiates and in particular that scene from “the Wizard of Oz” (where Dorothy succumbs to the doping effect of the pretty poppies), yawn…
“Depreston” is fittingly depressing, as it is basically a flatly-described view of the daily hum-drum of domestic life and the mundane history that houses and homes carry with them. This song is perfect for Courtney’s middle-of-the-road (mostly spoken) vocal style. And next is another Sheryl Crow-styled song called “Aqua Profunda” – so sassy and fun, while being a little silly at the same time. Next #7 called “Dead Fox” features an upbeat (almost 80s style) background bass that will have you bopping along, even as you realize the lyrics are a cynical tale of denial about turning a blind eye to whatever you can’t handle at the moment….
I LOVED the name of the track “Nobody Really Cares If you Don’t Go to the Party”. This is exactly the right attitude for handling that sort of self-important indecision that someone may be whining about to you. Nobody cares! This is full of the sort of 90s girl rock that I loved from the beginning of the album, with a really amazing guitar solo that is so much fun.
Track #9 – called “Debbie Downer” – could be cut and pasted directly from a Juliana Hatfield album. Cute structure, semi-sweet lyrics, and lots of girlie attitude. Perfect for rocking out and singing along in your car! I thought #10 was the most serious of them all – an environmentally-conscious song told in a mostly poetic, beatnik bass style that is almost too much for this otherwise tongue-in-cheek album. The CD ends on a mellow note with “Boxing Day Blues”. I’ll admit it was kind of hard for me to get into this one, when all I really wanted to do was keep rockin’ with the rest of the album.
I tried looking Courtney up on the internet, to see how much of this guitar music she was writing/playing herself – but no matter who is performing the instrumentation on the album, it is nothing really spectacular or noteworthy. Even on these stripped-down songs what makes each track so great is the combination of music, lyrics, and deadpan Courtney delivery. Somehow it all really comes together in this great “retro” 90s indie-girl style. Wikipedia for Courtney Barnett says she has released two EPs to date, but that this is her debut album. What?! This is AMAZING for a debut album! Check it out!
Link to Preview Tracks on Google Play (FREE Download of Hit Single!):
Link to Purchase Album on Amazon: