Last April, I focused the blog on Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett for a couple of weeks, posting a song-by-song discovery of her debut LP, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit.
My verdict was that Barnett is a gifted storyteller and an exciting artist worth watching. The album is fast and smart, sometimes loud and always thoughtful. In short, one of the highlights of 2015.
And the highlight of the album is ‘Depreston,’ a gentle acoustic track about a couple looking to move to the suburbs. They get caught up in the real estate details until the singer is briefly distracted by signs of the previous occupant’s life.
Like most of Barnett’s songs, it telescopes in on a real life moment and finds poetry in the mundane.
You said, “we should look out further,” I guess it wouldn’t hurt us
We don’t have to be around all these coffee shops
Now we’ve got that percolator, never made a latte greater
I’m saving twenty three dollars a week
We drive to a house in Preston, we see police arrestin’
A man with his hand in a bag
How’s that for first impressions? This place seems depressing
It’s a Californian bungalow in a cul-de-sac
It’s got a lovely garden, a garage for two cars to park in
Or a lot of room for storage if you’ve just got one
And it’s going pretty cheap you say, well it’s a deceased estate
Aren’t the pressed metal ceilings great?
Then I see the handrail in the shower, a collection of those canisters for coffee tea and flour
And a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam
And I can’t think of floorboards anymore, whether the front room faces south or north
And I wonder what she bought it for
If you’ve got a spare half a million
You could knock it down and start rebuildin’