Let me preface this by saying that I am hardly an expert when it comes to music. Not a shred of musical ability runs through my veins/fingers. Having said that, I have listened to a wide variety of music and like to think that I know a great song, artist, or album when I come across it.
So when I say that Courtney Barnett’s debut studio album, released this March and titled Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is fantastic, don’t just dismiss it. The Melbourne, Australia native has put out one of the better studio albums that I have ever heard on just her first try. I have gone out of my way to recommend Barnett’s music to people, something that I have never done with any artist before.
It isn’t really possible to describe the album in a single word, although if I had to try my hand at it I would probably say fun is a good description. It is simply a fun, enjoyable experience from beginning to end; 44 minutes of well crafted songs with clever lyrics riffing on fairly mundane topics that make for the most enjoyable listening experience I’ve had in a long time.
How many times can you say that a song concerning anxieties with driving and organic produce is one of your favorites on the album? I can count one after hearing the 7th track on the album, “Dead Fox,” a song that begins with “Jen insists we buy organic vegetables.” Despite the unexpected opening line, the song delves into a simple and mundane, but very real, anxiety over getting in a wreck on the highway.
Another of the album’s big songs is “Depreston,” a song about house hunting in Preston, a Melbourne suburb. It is one of the slower songs on the album, and one that confronts a fairly morbid subject in the environment of an everyday event such as house hunting. The basic premise of the song is a reaction to finding signs of the elderly woman who had previously lived a particular house the speaker is touring. The focus of the song turns from the house’s garden and location to the mementos and personal effects (from a shower handrail to a Vietnam War ear photo of a young man) of the woman who was the previous owner.
If “Depreston” is great for it’s morbid subject matter, “Aqua Profunda!” is great for it’s simplicity and pure fun. It describes Barnett seeing someone swimming next to her at a pool and her disastrous efforts to impress them. The short version is: she passed out after trying too hard to impress and the person was gone when she woke up.
Even though I chose to highlight three songs on the album, there really is not a bad song to be found. It is, simply put, some of the best 44 minutes of music that I have had the pleasure to listen to over and over and over again. I highly suggest supporting Barnett by buying her debut studio album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. You will not regret it.
Josh is a DJ with KSSU