Lyrics for Sale
Get both these albums, more so for the music than the words. Words aren’t all that bad, just that a lot more could have been done. Still, gotta commend them for their straight rhymes and slant rhymes and line breaking and all.
COURTNEY BARNETT – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom+Pop): Shit got loud. Whereas her double EP was nimbler and cleverer (lol), a CCR twang in the guitar even if her Aussie accent-inflected vocals didn’t, this single LP lets Barnett get the led out; heavy on electric guitar, obsessed with wormy riffs, unrelenting drums, a hint of vitriol in her delivery: “I think you’re a joke / but I don’t think you’re very funny.” Still, the music’s stronger here, a big assist when she can’t find anything shrewd to say, more often than you’d think, just masked by her unlikely rhymes: “turpentine” and “cyanide” and “diatribe” and “catch your eye” and “seeing you cry.” Still, I’m suspicious: though I can’t name it, I’ve heard the “Depreston” melody elsewhere, and “Aqua Profunda!” while easily the best tune here, sounds too similar to one of Costello’s finest. Not to mention that I find her humorous in the same way I find The New Yorker humorous: witty without actually being funny. But her shit got loud, and it sounds better that way. A MINUS
WAXAHATCHEE – Ivy Tripp (Merge): Gloomy Alabaman girl Katie Crutchfield gets by not because her listless lyrics make much of an impression line-for-line, but because her melodic impulses, however melancholy, are always right on the money. This is an improvement over Cerulean Salt—which was slower than I remember—by diversifying the pace. After dreary dirge opener “Breathless,” Crutchfield kicks out the jams with tinny bedroom-demo rocker “Under a Rock,” moves on to wall of guitar “Poison.” Her idea of a lullaby (“Stale By Noon”) is floundering between imitating love and shrugging it off. All over Crutchfield conjures dreamlike sentiments that collectively make this feel like a summer afternoon nap; short, sweet, and not entirely comprehensible. And like I said, the songs are great, a healthy balance between her solo desire to go slow and P.S. Eliot’s tendency to pick up the pace. A MINUS