was hailed as a rock n' roll savior when she exploded onto the scene back in 2015 with her endlessly refreshing debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
. Her witticisms and astute observations of the everyday made for a lyrical tone that drew comparisons to everyone from Bob Dylan to Virginia Woolf. Not bad company. After a spell away from her own solo material, during which time she collaborated with Kurt Vile and worked on her partner and labelmate Jen Cloher's latest album, Barnett has returned with a renewed sense of self.
"Nameless, Faceless" is the first track from her forthcoming second LP Tell Me How You Really Feel
and it sees a more personal songwriting approach, edged with an all-too-justified sense of political injustice. The almost Monty Python-esque video is a collage of overt imagery, directed by Lucy Dyson, conjuring up memories of mid-2000s indie-rock visuals like those for Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" and The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army". Also, a healthy helping of cat pictures, because they automatically make everything better of course.
Lyrically, the song pivots on a chorus paraphrased from a Margaret Atwood quote (though Barnett was unaware of the source when she wrote the song). Unsurprisingly, for a song inspired by a writer like Atwood, the track tackles the disparity in gender privileges and the fragile egoism which seems to drive toxic masculinity. It's a hefty subject, but Barnett manages to wrap up her words in that familiar razor-sharp wit. The chorus, where the song really hits home thematically, is driven by a trademark jagged guitar hook, and Barnett's borderline blase vocal breezes us through the rest of the track.
Tell Me How You Really Feel
will be released on May 18th, and Courtney Barnett will be playing a series of small shows around the US throughout May.