Nameless Faceless – Courtney Barnett

One of the earliest releases in the year of note for me was the second (or third depending how you feel about The Sea Of Split Peas) release from Aussie Indie Sensation Courtney Barnett. To me Courtney is this decade’s contender for the crown of Billy Bragg, Craig Finn, Lily Allen Style lyrical brilliance. She had stiff competition from Kate Tempest around the release of Sometimes I Always Sit and Everybody Down. Courtney gains the edge on prolific output and melody. Not that I’d see the two as combatants. I think Europe Is Lost is as colossal and brilliant as Pedestrian At Best in its own ways and in it’s own right and write.

That third release perspective could be stretched to a fourth (depending on how you feel about Lotta Sea Lice) given last year she also made the brilliant duet album with this very lists Kurt (man o’ the moment) Vile.

“Don’t you have something better to do I wish that someone could hug you, must be lonely being angry, feeling overlooked”

None of this should distract from the brilliance of Barnett’s album Tell Me How You Really Feel. On this record she tells us how she really feels on a myriad of subjects. Some as small and incidental as feelings ageing like the use by date on groceries some as universal as the societal difference between the gender’s views of one another.

“I wanna walk through the park in the dark, men are scared that women will laugh at them, I wanna walk through the park in the dark, women are scared that men will kill them. I hold my keys between my fingers” 

Nameless Faceless is a sort of upbeat pop tune with introverted lyrics about vulnerability and what turns regular folk into threats to one another. Our New Queen Courtney (not to detract form the classic Queen Courtney nor the band The Courtney’s) is a benevolent and kind soul. The key theme in Nameless Faceless is one of compassion and forgiveness despite the stark realities of that chorus for every ‘Alphabet soup’ put down there’s a beautiful plea for understanding and healing in the oft repeated coda…

“I’m real sorry for what ever happened to you”

Binding together lots of trad elements from Kimya Dawson and Mary Lou Lord and Jenny Lewis and Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Courtney makes an instantly recognisable modern folk pop sound equal parts observational comedy and social commentary. And each song is so so good. She’s one of our best and brightest song writers in 2018.

Happy New Year!

4 thoughts on “Nameless Faceless – Courtney Barnett

  1. A Courtney classic. The “men are scared etc” quote is from Margaret Atwood. I’ve often felt like that, affirming to hear it in a great song.

    Liked by 2 people

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