Son Michael helped out with Sufjan but it was time I did my part. So I grabbed this $5 download from that awful company that exploits its workers. (But I won’t anymore.) Thank God I got this before I found out.
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Just Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
This young woman got me from the first song. The first second, really. Right out of the gate, she sings the tale of the young man who may or may not be depressed, but who gets help from that older lady you thought was just a nasty bitch. Heartwarming, uplifting, and you can dance to it.
She’s not afraid to dump a lot of words on you, and you don’t mind it because they’re all so funny or perceptive or both.
With her small, but very committed combo, she varies the pace and tone, going fast then slow, loud then soft. And she plays a mean guitar! She can go soft and smooth, loud and crunchy, or slow and bluesy as the moment requires.
These changes of pace and tone are crucial in holding your interest from song to song. Oh yeah, the songs. They’re kind of good, too.
She can be mean, as in:
I think you’re a joke
but I don’t think you’re very funny
She stretches out the last word to fu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-ny. You gotta keep the beat, after all.
She can also be matter-of-factly self-revealing, like:
I used to hate myself
but now I think I’m all right
So she earns the benefit of the doubt that in the former couplet, the intended target deserves it, and in the latter, she means it as advice for us, too.
And by the time we get to the bouncy, funny, angry “Debbie Downer” I’m ready to jump up and down. And that’s quite the sight to see!
That sense of humor, that irresistible Australian drawl, those songwriting chops, that guitar, that band. They almost almost single-handedly rehabilitate the electric piano!
And all this rock and roll is more fun than sad, sad Sufjan. (Not better, mind you, but more fun.)
And even though she ends it with two slow ones, by then you need the rest.
She’s funny, smart, tuneful and a damn good guitar player, and her band follows her wherever she goes.
I don’t blame them a bit.