Courtney Barnett “Tell Me How You Really Feel” Album Review

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Following her full-length debut in 2015 and her collaborative project with Kurt Vile in 2017, Barnett opens her second album with the brooding, lo-fi ‘Hopefulessness’. Juxtaposed with the instantaneous, high-tempo melodies of her debut, Barnett takes her time to let us settle in. Second track ‘City Looks Pretty’ sees us back in the swing of things with her blend of fuzzy guitar tones and storytelling. A slightly more psychedelic twist from the guitar layers adds a fresh dimension.

Songwriting is clearly Barnett’s calling. We’re treated to tracks that could open a teen summer film (‘Charity’) and bluesy slabs of melancholy (‘Need A Little Time’). Slight twinges of psychedelia return during the Beatles-esque ‘Nameless, Faceless’. Instant lyrical classics, such as, “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spit out better words than you,” indicate that although her sound is developing, Barnett hasn’t lost her sense of humour.

Along with an incredible title, Barnett develops her sound further from angsty punk on ‘I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch’, before final song ‘Sunday Roast’ bookends the album with a return to slow, brooding tones.

On this album Barnett wrestles with insecurity and frustration while maintaining hope and progressing her sound. It would’ve been easy for her to hash out some relatable lyrics over pop chords to tide her over, so the fact that she’s delivered a concise yet diverse second album is a great sign of things to come.

 

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