Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time, Take Time – Album – Marathon Artists – 2021
Genre: Alternative, Indie
Random acquaintances. Via Instagram. Sometimes something really great is born out of it. Like Courtney Barnett, the Australian singer/songwriter and Alternative Rocker. I became aware of Courtney Barnett via Instagram about 6 months ago when she was promoting her new album titled Things Take Time, Take Time with the video „Rae Street“. And this track just bit into my ear canal and didn’t want to get out of there anymore. But what was to be heard did not belong to my currently prevailing musical taste at all. Sure I have a fable for alternative/indie guitar sounds, but this was completely overshadowed by all the electronica stuff I was listening to by the dozen or so.
But Courtney carefully laid bare my old passion with the Rae Street video with meticulous tweaking and tongue-in-cheek biting humor and all the stuff that was to come after. Watch the video and let the quirky humor capture you and listen to the lyrics. There is no artist on this battered planet who can convey the small individual everyday tragedies more accurately, but with a clear distance and a certain casualness, so skillfully. That is simply fascinating.
„It’s about accepting life – life happens, and you accept it,“ Courtney says. „The world is so pointless and so fucked up in so many ways, but there are also so many beautiful little moments.“ This thought and the unspoken conclusion that the small everyday (all) commonalities always point us back to ourselves is firmly woven into the album Things Take Time, Take Time.
This theme is introduced early on with Rae Street, a track that can be seen as a world-weary survey of the world we have created. „One thing I know is that the sun will rise today and tomorrow. But we still have a long, long way to go,“ as Courtney says.
Then it continued with the videos for the tracks Before You Gotta Go, Write a List ofThings to Look Forward to, and especially If I Don’t Hear from You Tonight.
Before You Gotta Go
Before you gotta go (go, go, go) is one of the anchor songs on the album. One of those incredibly great songs that you can’t get around for the rest of your life. The video may seem „funny“ at first glance, or even to be black humor. But: We try to hear, but understand nothing, hear nothing either. Because we are constantly looking for the big picture and can no longer hear the small, subtle undertones. Or want.
Because we only listen to ourselves. Because we mishear ourselves, permanently listen away, do not listen and thus cause small, small catastrophes – which cause quite big, big damage, although it could be done in a quite simply differently and better way. The lyrics are about broken relationships and trying to accept something and still trying to keep it together a little bit at least.
Write a List of Things to Look Forward To
Write a List of Things to Look Forward To is another key track on the album.
I’ll just give you the lyrics:
Nobody knows why we keep tryin‘
Why we keep tryin‘
And so on it goes
I’m lookin‘ forward to the next letter that I’m gonna get from you
A baby is born as a man lay dying
As a man lay dying
And so on it goes
I’m lookin‘ forward to the next letter that I’m gonna get from you
Sit beside me, watch the world burn
We’ll never learn, we don’t deserve nice things
And we’ll scream self-righteously
We did our best, but what does that really mean?
I’m walkin‘ around, walking‘ around
With my head down, my head down
And I’m pushin‘ away, pushin‘ away
Yeah, I’m pushin‘ away, pushin‘ away
Typical for Courtney: basic sad lyrics, but a visually positive video, with the message that we need something from each other, for example, when we are 1,000 miles away from each other or a shitty pandemic makes it impossible to see each other. We need something from each other in these times, namely that we communicate to each other being important to each other, that we give each other the feeling valuing each other. Quite unexpectedly, without pathos. Then this video, which – despite the rather sad text – visually illustrates exactly what is really important.
And last but not least:
If I Don’t Hear from You Tonight
Three girls with bass, guitar and drums are somewhere in the Deep in the Middle of Nowhere-Desert and play a dust-dry song: If I don’t Hear from You Tonight. Again a classic Curfew song, with the subject or better the question if this time is a good time to tell you that I like you very much. It‘ s not easy these days to get close to someone while being incredibly excited, having this incredibly huge distance between us due to the state of the world. But all in all, If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight is an incredibly good song, implemented in a video that knows how to convince all along the line.
The album „Things Take Time, Take Time“.
Things take time – take the time for it: that seems to be a lifestyle philosophy of Courtney. And also by Stella Mozgawa, the drummer, who is also a long-time companion of Courtney and an incredibly good friend, who has influenced the mood of the album quite significantly. But more about that later.
„Things Take Time, Take Time“ is Courtney’s third album, following Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018) and debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015). But on the earlier works Courtney Barnett was louder, more energetic, often angrier and more relentless – and always simply brilliant as a singer and guitarist.
But when the admittedly fantastic album Tell Me How You Really Feel came out in 2018 and Courtney toured halfway around the world, she realized, „Fuck, I’m hanging in the hole and feeling kind of burnt out.“
Moreover, often enough, while composing new songs, the feeling of standing in front of the big imaginary wall, of not getting anywhere and of feeling and exuding negative energy arose. But Courtney′s friend Stella was in the studio with her, and whenever Courtney was in front of the imaginary wall again, Stella was there, and was taking over, and then she was trying out completely different approaches.
So Stella was presenting new ways for Courtney to approach the songs in a different way. Therefore, you can also hear Stella’s influence on the album at any time. The new album became much more flowery, lighter and – at first glance – more pleasing.
But Courtney Barnett wouldn’t be Courtney Barnett if she wouldn’t place her “ Don’t Do It That Way / Do It Another Way“ message in every song. But this time it doesn’t go along with noisy sawing guitar work, but with very tricky vocal arrangements, with daring but highly exciting vocal lines that drift over the airy light harmony lines as if by magic.
The emphasis of words and word fragments from the lyrics are sometimes so combed against the flowing line that it often seems impossible to sing along to the chorus.st the flowing line that it often seems impossible to sing along to the chorus. Courtney Barnett’s third album takes a more restrained approach compared to her earlier works, taking a deep breath and asking you not to dwell on the little things. It’s quieter and even more understated than you might expect from Courtney, even synths are incorporated into many tracks in an exceedingly coherent manner.
And if you don’t really like the album today – although you probably will – it‘ s no big deal; just try it again tomorrow. Things take time, so you also take the time to capture the album for yourself.
The tracks Before you Gotta Go and Turning Green will immediately be present in your mind – I’m sure – and you won’t be able to get away from them in the next few days. You will become increasingly curious to explore the new album, and you will become increasingly curious to get to know Courtney and her work.
The Bottom Line
You’re going to learn to love Courtney Barnett’s new album Things Take Time, Take Time, because it’s the best thing at all you’ve heard since 2018. And you will start to listen and watch all the videos, all albums and concert recordings of Courtney one after the other – and you will learn to love Courtney. At the end you will agree with me completely convinced that from now on a life without Courtney seems unimaginable and somehow empty.
The sound quality of the album is also beyond reproach. On Qobuz the album is available in 24 bit /96 kHz, on Apple Music (streaming) even in Dolby Atmos and it sounds excellent over the entire frequency range.
Artist: Courtney Barnett
Title: Things Take Time, Take Time
Label: Marathon Artists
Release Date: November 12, 2021
Genre: Alternative and Indie
10 tracks – 33m 58s
Available at Qobuz in Hi-Res
24-bit / 96 kHz stereo
My Test Equipment:
Studio 1 (High End):
- 2 x System Audio SA Mantra 50 (front)
- 1x System Audio SA Mantra 10 AV (center)
- 2x System Audio SA Legend 5 (rear)
- 1 x System Audio Saxo 10 (subwoofer)
- 4 x Onkyo SKH-410 (B) (Dolby Atmos)
- Auralic Altair (audio streaming client with max. 32 bit / 384 kHz)
- NVIDIA Shield Pro with Plex, Kodi (max 192 kHz for Audio, Tidal (MQA Streaming Client)
- AppleTV 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Amazon Cube 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos (restricted), HDR, Dolby Vision
- Panasonic DP-UB9004 (4K UHD Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Oppo UDP-203 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Yamaha CX-A5100 (Preamp) 4K, Dolby Atmos, Hi-res
- Yamaha MX-A5000 (Power Amp)
- Sony KD-55A1 (TV) 4K OLED, HDR, Dolby Vision
Studio 2 (Near Field): Studio 3 (Consumer):
Studio 2 (Near Field):
Studio 3 (Consumer):