Songs You May Have Missed #720

Courtney Barnett: “Here’s the Thing” (2021)

Oh, this confounding Courtney!

Her debut was a blast, a gust of fresh air that appeared to augur the arrival of a new rock artist that actually mattered–the way Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True or Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill seemed to do.

And of course, there being a dearth of rock artists that mattered in the 2010’s, it was likely inevitable Barnett’s first album was hailed as an instant classic.

And it probably is.

In fact, that album’s unfettered, shoot-from-the-hip lyrical feel and punkish energy sounds perhaps better with each passing year of what passes for mainstream pop.

But on Barnett’s two most recent releases the energy is muted, the focus doesn’t seem as sharp, and mid-tempo songs dominate–as if Courtney settled a bit prematurely into “long-term artist” status.


The thing is, despite the last couple albums falling short of the standard set by her debut, each of them has produced one extraordinary, idiosyncratic song. A song that doesn’t just feel like it came from some other album, but from some other artist.

In 2018 it was the excellent “Need a Little Time”. And this time it’s the beautiful, reflective, semi-psychedelic-sounding “Here’s the Thing”. It truly takes things to another plane.

Whether she has another album in her that’s as great as her first isn’t at issue. When she can produce songs like this one, you can’t ignore Courtney Barnett.

That’s the thing.

See also:

See also:

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