By the end of last year, Australian singer Courtney Barnett was at or near the top of many music writers’ “best album of 2015” lists. And indeed, her album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (which should win an award for best album title of the year, if nothing else), is a solidly entertaining indie rock treat. Barnett’s songs marry riffs that sound like the Velvet Underground recorded in a modern studio to drily witty and wordy lyrics that showcase a stream-of-consciousness sense of humor — her lyrics feel like modern beat poetry.
The songs on Sometimes I Sit and Think are deceivingly simple sounding — the riffs may be pretty basic, but there are so many ideas going on in the songs that you get past that very quickly. On the other side of the coin, her vocal delivery is laconic, yet the energy of the music never lets it come off as lazy. Sure, she sometimes sounds like she just woke up, but combined with her Australian accent it’s charming, especially on the faster songs — like she was caught falling asleep in a meeting and then overcompensates by talking too fast and going into too much detail.
There are many songs on the album worthy of highlighting here (“Pedestrian at Best” gets the most coverage, having been the lead single from the album), but I’ve chosen “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party.” I think it might partly just be because I like the title, but I also like it for the simple fact that it rocks. Although the title might imply a nasty comment directed at someone else, it’s actually a general statement reassuring herself that it’s okay that she’d rather stay home and read a good book:
Yes I like hearing your stories
But I’ve heard them all before
I’d rather stay in bed with the rain over my head
Than have to pick my brain up off of the floor
I wanna go out but I wanna stay home
Barnett is definitely someone to be looking out for on her next release — if she continues to grow musically, she’ll be making even more of a splash than she did last year. I can’t wait to hear what’s next…