I would like to start off by stating my deepest apologies to Drake and Rae Sremmurd. I must put my love for your new albums aside and go back to my roots. I promise I will try to make time for you when I can. Maybe we'll see each other at a pregame or a night out dancing at a hip hop club. But right now, I have to listen to what feels right. It's not you, it really is me.
Let's get one thing straight: I am an indie-folk, alternative and emo girl at heart. I enjoy all kinds of music but, my teenage angst is something I still grasp on to tightly even in my late 20s. I can vividly describe every flashback I get while listening to a Taking Back Sunday or Steel Train song. My queen to your Bey is Fiona Apple and in a spontaneous move I got Paramore lyrics tattooed on my front shoulder bone, which has been my best-kept secret for years. My lack of over the top piercings and pink dyed hair keeps me under the radar, but etched in my soul are lovers that scorned me and the lyrics I've pinned against them.
I had been yearning for a long time to feel a new connection with a musician. The kind that makes you think and wish in delusion that you could have wrote the song. Where you can sit through an entire album and wonder how the hell they created a song that was better than the prior. Then, on a rainy day (actually it was 80 degrees and sunny) in 2014, while listening to my "Fiona Apple Radio" station, Courtney Barnett casually graced my computer speakers. I was working at a furniture shop at the time and the song entitled "Avant Gardener" that describes Barnett’s day of enduring a panic attack in detail came on. The tune was catchy, the guitar trippy and the lyrics were simplistically ingenious. I added this track to my creatively titled "2014" playlist and went on to listen to her full album.
"Anonmyous Club" was a favorite once listening to the album in its completion. From my perspective it's about someone you sneak away to and pretend that your romance is filled with passion and is real at least for that night. At the time of this album, I was going through this with someone I cared [irrationally] for, so I felt for her, for me, for all of us in these deeply complicated but subtly romantic situations.
"Turn your phone off friend, you’re amongst friends and we don’t need no interruptions // Leave your shoes at the door, along with your troubles"
Every time I entered his apartment, it was how I felt. I closed the door and escaped the outside world to enjoy the very few parts of him that he allowed me to.
Other stand out tracks from her first album, "The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas" were: "History Eraser," "Lance Jr," and "Ode to Odetta" (if I must choose).
Courtney Barnett's sophomore album was slowly introduced to me by two singles released before the full album drop. At her LA show in November during the Red Bull Sound Select event, she played "Depreston," which received instant rave reviews and caught well-deserved attention. The idea of it was so simple, but again rang so true in my current life. Written about house hunting, I almost couldn't believe I had just recently made it out of the experience with my sanity still in tact.
"We drive to a house in Preston // we see police arresting a man with a hand in a bag // How's that for first impressions // this place seems depressing // it's a Californian bungalow in a coldasac"
Shortly after that, I listened to her single, "Pedestrian At Best," which has a more alternative edge and is the classic rock girl anthem. After almost playing out the songs [but not quite yet] her LP, "Sometimes I Sit and Think and sometimes I just sit," was released.
The Australian singer/songwriter proved that a second album can be as strong as her debut. Every aspect of music that I love unraveled as each track moved to the next. The album is a perfect mixture of folk, rock, alternative and in a few songs an undertone of blues.
My top 3 songs from the album:
1. “Small Poppies”
The Blues came out to play in this song and it was its instant appeal for me.
Lyrics I loved: "In a way it's a shame you get away thinking it's just a game // Who am I to deny myself a pawn for you to use? // At the end of the day it's a pain that I keep seeing your name // But I'm sure it's a bore being you"
2. “Illustrations of Loneliness”
This song describes my constant state of romanticizing everything, even in regards to my last Tinder match.
Lyrics I loved: "Wondering what you're doing, what you're listening to // Which quarter of the moon you're viewing from your bedroom // I'm thinking of you too"
3. “Elevator Operator”
I just loved the juxtaposition of slightly depressing lyrics accompanied by an upbeat melody. Juxtaposition, yeah I said it.
Lyrics I loved: "Don't jump little boy, don't jump off that roof // You've got your whole life ahead of you, you're still in your youth // I'd give anything to have skin like you. // He said "I think you're projecting the way that you're feeling // I'm not suicidal, just idling insignificantly // I come up here for perception and clarity // I like to imagine I'm playing Sim City"
These songs have been set on repeat. The lyrical stories make me feel like I'm sitting in the room experiencing all of these moments with her. They take you along her small or large journey. Combined with the melody and the tailor-fitted guitar parts, this album has become an instant classic - at least in my collection. In avoiding the pop protocol, Barnett brings on the cool girl rock and makes it seem effortless, like it’s just her innate habitual music making, it just oozes from her soul.
Courtney, [Barnett that is], I love you.
Listen to her full album here.
Written by Amelia Williams
Top photograph courtesy of www.earbuddy.net
Second photograph courtesy of www.gigwise.com