Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

Courtney Barnett – Rae Street

Okay but what I want to know is if it’s easy to find parking…


Danilo Bortoli: Courtney Barnett treats her songs as little journals, ripped off pages from an old diary. “Rae Street” presents raw footage from an otherwise pretty much ordinary life: Barnett looks out the window sitting in her apartment, kids go by, life happens. She seems to rejoice in her own steadiness. But somehow Barnett thinks this depiction of life is enough. As it turns out, the exact opposite of self-centered and hysterical songwriters can be also be quite boring.

John Pinto: We should all be so wise to accept that there is no apocalypse or utopia looming after COVID, but rather a boring-ass future that will be our collective responsibility; good on Courtney Barnett for seeing that. Unfortunately, this song was still like if a trusted and valued friend took my hand, smiled, then walked off ten or so paces and bounced a Frisbee off my head.

Juana Giaimo: I know that her music doesn’t aim for something else, but after ten seconds of listening to “Rae Street” I knew exactly how it was going to be the rest of the song (and the rest of the album that hasn’t even been released yet). The thing is that those first ten seconds weren’t very interesting. Her slow singing with the slow strum of the guitar make the backbone of the song. Even when there are other elements, it all seems to be dragged by those two things (the piano adds a nice touch, but it’s so subtle in the mixing that it passes unnoticed).

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Slacker faux-philosophical meandering that would be obnoxiously chill from anyone other than Barnett (c.f. Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s recent work.) In her hands it’s instead something quietly revelatory, the slow washing-machine churn of the chorused guitars and the pitter-patter of the drum machine working to create an endearingly lush portrait of an artist in repose.

John S. Quinn-Puerta: It’s almost hypnotic. It keeps marching forward, changing a little each time, led by the near constant drum machine, padded by keys. Barnett has a roster of songs that capture the feeling of depression, but “Rae Street” engages with moving forward in spite of the isolation of a continuously low mood. The final bridge’s chord changes embody that sliver of optimism even as the lyrics acknowledge that you’re “barely hanging on”.

Alfred Soto: I like when musicians philosophize, use topic sentences. Courtney Barnett’s shown herself to be rather good at it. Reveling in its acoustic roots, “Rae Street” is too self-satisfied as a piece of music and a set of lyrics. Sheryl Crow did this better.

Reader average: [8.5] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Courtney Barnett – Rae Street”

  1. Nice Danilo, that Lauren Oyler review is an all-timer.