If anyone understands the power of conversation, it’s Courtney Barnett.
The Australian singer-songwriter speaks through her songs — both metaphorically and literally. Her tone is familiar and intimate. Her vocals tend to exist in a comfortable mid-range, evoking the speak-song of Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan. The word “rambling” is often attributed to Barnett, but it’s hard to listen to her music and not think that she has a clear destination.
Her latest album, Things Take Time, Take Time (out November 12th via Mom + Pop), is smooth and cohesive, almost to the point of homogeneity. Perhaps the album’s greatest strength is that there are no pretenses here. Barnett seems to have created the record she wanted to create, telling the story she set out to tell. “For me, it’s such a joyous album,” she recently told Consequence. “A lot of it is about finding joy amongst the mess.”
There’s a relatability in that very idea, and it comes through clearly in the album. The entire past year and a half has been about little more than finding joy amongst the mess, celebrating stolen moments of beauty in times of overwhelming sadness, and clinging to silver linings.
Barnett may have gone through a breakup recently with a longtime partner, but this album doesn’t read outright as a “breakup album.” Instead, as with most of her work, it blends the humor, sadness, and hope of a moment in time and calls it life. “I try my best to hide it, but I don’t want to hide anything from you,” she says on the restrained and romantic “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight.”