This album picked up where Lovett’s Pontiac left off, splitting its focus between traditional country, jazz and blues. ‘Nobody Knows Me’ falls in the album’s second half with the rest of the country songs.
The penultimate song on Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is another long one. ‘Kim’s Caravan’ clocks in at 6 minutes and 45 seconds. The last epic, ‘Small Poppies,’ earned its running time through some inspired electric blues guitar work. I wonder if this one will mine similar territory.
Lyrically, this is a pretty straight-forward song about the environment, though told in what I’ve come to recognize as Barnett’s casual, mundane-is-profound approach.
This is a weird way to discover an album, one song at a time spaced out over hours or days. I’ve written some of these blog entries back-to-back but others have been separated by a day or two. I’m used to hearing new music all the way through, usually on my car stereo. This is a more disjointed experience, certainly, but I also feel like I’m getting a better sense of the album overall than I usually do with a new record.
This song contrasts two different philosophies — the devil-may-care attitude of one character vs. the sheltered introversion of the narrator. The title refers to both people, suggesting that neither of their outlooks is important in the grand scheme.
Turns out this is a protest song about the ill effects of corporations on her native Australia. Barnett paints a picture of pesticide-injected apples, animals mowed down by freight trucks and cities bypassed by highways. The one-line chorus is a neat play on the sticker you often see on the back of large trucks that reads “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.”
These are the most conversational lyrics so far, a little first-person narrative about a woman who tries to catch the eye of somebody swimming alongside her in a public pool, only to pass out while attempting an acrobatic move. I first pictured a man as her object of affection, but I’ve read that Barnett is gay and she could very well be writing here about two women.
And every year or two I’m reminded what a beautiful and lasting piece of work it is.
Today’s song is particularly lovely, and further proof (like the whole album) that break-ups make for the some of the most emotionally resonant music.