Written By: Mandi Lauren Nowitz
Straight from down under, we have an amazing gem by the name of Courtney Barnett. A Grammy nominee and winner of four ARIA awards, Barnett burst through the scene with her debut album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit,” with “Rolling Stone” and “The Guardian” naming it one of the best of 2015. That’s a huge accomplishment for a relatively new artist and along with that, an openly gay one, who is married to fellow Aussie musician Jen Cloher, having written several songs about her for her album. So, what makes Barnett especially unique? She spoke with thatmusicmag.com and had this to say about her process: “I like to challenge myself in my songwriting. Set myself little tasks to try and accomplish.” I like artists who are willing to push themselves beyond the limits that they think are set forth for them and she is one of them. But, as she adds, she is far more unique than one would believe: “The guitarists – I’m left-handed and don’t use a pick. The singers – I’m not a very good singer. The world – My middle name is Melba, I don’t think it’s very common.” Basically, she is a badass in so many senses of the word and I think that her uniqueness is what will help propel her forward and make her an icon for young girls, as she also says: “people realize that everyone is getting through the world in their own way and to be nice to each other.” I love her already and think that we should be friends! #fangirling.
I wish I could compare Courtney Barnett’s voice to someone else’s but it is incomparable. I would say it’s a mix of peppy Fiona Apple and Sheryl Crow but that is the closest I can come because she is so unique, especially with “Elevator Operator.” The video is pretty cool too, almost like the Disney ride “Tower of Terror,” with Barnett as the, what else, elevator operator.
“Oliver Paul, twenty years old. Thick head of hair, worries he’s going bald. Wakes up at quarter past nine. Fair evades his way down the 96 tram line. Breakfast on the run again, he’s well aware. He’s dropping soy linseed Vegemite crumbs everywhere.”
“Small Poppies” takes it down a notch and is the kind of music you want to listen to in the rain. “In a way it’s a shame you get a way. 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.” To all those who thought they were too good for you, yeah, you’re boring!
Finally, I am obsessed with “Debbie Downer,” which is anything but a downer. It is so reminiscent of early eighties pop music and I love the lyrics: “I’m growing older every time I blink my eyes. Boring, neurotic, everything that I despise. We had some lows, we had some mids, we had some highs. Sell me all your golden rules and I’ll see. If that’s the kind of person that I wanna be. If I’m not happy I’ll be glad I kept receipts.” We all have that person that we wish we could get like a tax deduction on for having to put up with their crap and this song reminds me of that. So, if you have yet to hear of Courtney Barnett, pick up “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.” Trust me, you won’t regret it at all!