Best Songs of 2015 – #7
‘Depreston’ – Courtney Barnett
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 so we reach the end of my 11-day discovery of Courtney Barnett’s album, Sometimes I Sit and Thing, and Sometimes I Just Sit. As I suspected, the final song on the album is a short one, juxtaposed with the nearly 7-minute epic that preceded it.
No clue what it will sound like (yet) and based on the blend of styles on the album so far, I’m not sure I can even venture an educated guess.
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.
I’m coming in to the home stretch of Courtney Barnett’s album with three songs left, starting with track #8, ‘Debbie Downer.’
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.
I love the title of this songs, track #8 of Courtney Barnett’s new album: ‘Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party.’ It doesn’t show up in the song but it conveys the theme beautifully.
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.
Track #8 of Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is the ominously titled ‘Dead Fox.’
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.”
Continuing my discovery of Courtney Barnett’s studio album debut, I arrive at track #6, titled ‘Aqua Profunda!’
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.