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:

Songs You May Have Missed #657

Sports Team: “Here’s the Thing” (2020)

First: This song literally took twenty seconds to become my latest infatuation.

Second: I sent it to my Gen Z son, who responded thusly, and I quote: “The lyrics are basically the panicked cry of my generation tbh”


Third: Realizing what I thought was just a fun song may actually be a generational anthem, I searched for band bio info to discover:

Sports Team have been playing huge headlining tours in England, selling out venues such as Electric Ballroom and Kentish Town Forum, were named Elle Magazine’s ‘Band to Watch’ in their March issue, had front man Alex Rice featured in British Vogue’s Top Boys, and had Annie Mac feature this particular tune on BBC Radio 1 as her Hottest Record in the World.

Folks, this is all prior to releasing their debut album, which is due next month.

And here I’ll repeat my rant/lament that so much great music receives airplay in Europe but finds no place on American pop radio, dominated as it is by mumble rap, bro country and EDM. Occasionally something fresh breaks through the gridlock of the sound-alikes, but not often enough if we’re missing out on stuff like this.

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