Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett

At first glance this is twee stoner inflected dirge rock. A bit Kimya Dawson a bit Juliana Hatfield Three. Courtney Barnett handles the millennial perspective of being over educated and under stimulated with wit and a cool head. There’s a modernity and a maturity to the lyrics that remove any frantic emotion and replaces it with a mellow ennui.

“I sleep in late, Another day, Oh what a wonder, Oh what a waste. It’s a Monday, it’s so mundane what exciting things will happen today?”

So far so good, anything’s possible for this young protagonist. What will this song be about?

“The yard is full of hard rubbish it’s a mess and I guess the neighbours must think we run a meth lab, We should amend that”

It’s going to be about Gardening? Right O! Rock and roll, here we go.

“Anything to take my mind away from where it’s sposed to be. The nice lady next door talks of green beds and all the nice things that she wants to plant in them, I wanna grow tomatoes on the front steps. Sunflowers, bean sprouts, sweet corn and radishes”

Is this really a rock and roll Springwatch? Is this the most boring rock star in the world?

“I feel pro-active I pull out weeds all of a sudden I’m having trouble breathing in. My hands are shaky my knees are weak I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet”

No wait! It’s not about gardening at all. It’s about an asthma attack. Well that’s a first. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rock and roll reference to asthma.

“I’m breathing but I’m wheezing, feel like i’m emphysem-in’, my throat feels like a funnel
filled with weetabix and kerosene and Oh no, next thing I know they call up triple o, I’d rather die than owe the hospital ’til I get old”

Now we’re getting somewhere. There’s a perspective on the state of the world in amongst the anafilaxia.

“I take a hit from an asthma puffer, I do it wrong, I was never good at smoking bongs. I’m not that good at breathing in”

Amid Pulp Fiction references and modern slice of life observations CB’s witty perspective skews the state of things while giving those around her a gentle appreciation for their differences.

“The paramedic thinks I’m clever ‘cos I play guitar I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying”


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