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In 2013, Courtney Barnett released an EP Collection titled The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. The release featured tracks like “Avant Gardener” and “History Eraser” and was met with critical acclaim. Fast-forward a few years and her debut album is finally here, recorded in the autumn of 2014 in a 10-day session at Head Gap studios in Melbourne. Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is now well on its way to being one of the best Australian albums of 2015.
Barnett says “My songs follow me as a normal human with normal emotions. So there are great highs and great lows. They span everything in my life.” This is no understatement; it’s clear that Barnett takes inspiration from everything. She’s an exceptional storyteller. Her lyrics are both witty and relatable. She somehow makes the seemingly mundane interesting and does it brilliantly. Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune wrote that “She sounds like she’s day-dreaming out loud instead of singing, but she’s deceptively incisive as a lyricist.”
Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is simple, fun and really easy to listen to. The album is packed with nineties riffs and the sound is pretty grunge, but it is by no means limited to simply this. “Pedestrian At Best” is a definite highlight, featuring a frenzied sound paired with rather monotone vocals. The sound works exceptionally well and matches the lyrics nicely, with lines like “Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey”, “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you / Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you” and “I think you’re a joke but I don’t find you very funny”.
“Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” is another highlight from the album, with the all-too-relatable chorus “I wanna go out but I wanna stay home”. “Dead Fox” is another song that really exemplifies Barnett’s prowess as a lyricist. She makes roadkill into a discussion of some pretty important issues and she does so in the most seamless way, with lyrics like “More people die on the road than they do in the ocean / Maybe we should mull over culling cars instead of sharks / Or just lock them up in parks where we can go and view them”.
Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is an incredible debut album. Barnett is an impressive lyricist and musician to say the least, and definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.