Anyone who has a favourite band or singer knows the exact importance of what music means to them. We take the songs and make them our own. They save our lives, they give us courage and become a source of comfort when there isn’t much else. Their words become like religious scriptures, and can give us something to believe in. If that’s what you’re into.
Tell Me How You Really Feel is the new record by Courtney Barnett and it’s worth noting that this is her best work, so far. The lyrics are beautifully close to the bone and the music is gloriously loud and unapologetically in your face. Her voice is stronger and when needed, Courtney pulls out this incredible aggression that makes you feel 10 feet tall. It’s a record of brutal honesty and fearless vulnerabilities. Courtney is a mind blowing song writer, and those of us who are obsessed with her truly fawn over her brilliant way with words.
The artwork to this record is an up-close photo of Courtney. There’s something really personable about this shot and it is something that filters through the whole record. There’s a song on the record called Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence which the title alone is relatable. The song takes you deep into your mind and makes you really connect with Courtney’s wordplay. It’s a record that should top every list and win every award possible based on her writing alone.
Hopefulessness has a line that will resonate with anyone that hears it, “Your vulnerability is stronger than it seems. Y’know it’s okay to have a bad day.” It feels like a mantra that you can echo to yourself when it all seems a bit too much. It’s okay to have days where you feel terrible, and the thought of being around people is just too much. All you want is to be in the safety of your room and shut the world out. This happens. It can happen to anyone, and it is nothing to ever be ashamed about. The way in which Courtney delivers this vital lyric is so humbling, and makes you so proud to be a fan of hers.
I’ve been a fan of Courtney since I first heard the I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris EP back in 2012. I know I’ve said it loads now, but it was the words that got me. Then it became the way she fearlessly and ferociously played the guitar. I honestly believe that she is most certainly going to be someone that inspires many to pick up an instruments and write songs about what, and who is around them. The fact that she is so easy to relate to provides a cloak of security that well need at times. You can find it anywhere, or sometimes- it’ll find you.
Sometimes I can call out what my favourite song is with first listen, but over the weekend I’ve listened to nothing but Tell Me How You Really Feel and no part of me can choose a song that stands out the most. I can’t possibly let you know which songs stands out for me because every song is a stroke of genius. Everything about Courtney and her band on this record is a true masterpiece. There is a moment on Nameless, Faceless that if you’ve seen any live clips of Courtney singing this, you’ll notice her voice becomes more gravely than on record. The way she sings, “I hold my keys, between my fingers” on the record is quite tame, but when she plays this live it is like she is releasing a wealth of fury. We’ve all walked home clutching our keys between our fingers, and it’s really sad that this is something we can relate to. It really shouldn’t be like this.
Tell Me How You Really Feel has songs that show Courtney using her way with words to mock an internet troll to adding reassurance to those going through a tough time. There are moments where you truly connect with how fragile a person can be and there are moments where Courtney makes you feel brave. I don’t know if she knows it, but she’s a bloody genius. Musically and lyrically- she’s a genius. There’s no one else quite like her, and no other record is going to move you like this. It is really nothing short of exceptional and relatable.
Buy it. Play it loud, and tell someone how you really feel.