Best Albums of 2015: ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit’ by Courtney Barnett (No. 3)

Photo by Pooneh Ghana.

Photo by Pooneh Ghana.

With a dry wit and a languid Australian twang, Courtney Barnett is a master at finding the dark humor in awkward situations on “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit.” It’s her debut LP, and No. 3 on my 2015 top-10 list. (I reviewed the album for Paste.)

She unspools lyrics as if she’s giving voice to her stream of consciousness, especially as she describes the contents of the apartment she’s staying in on “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in NY)” or recounts her near-fatal attempt to impress a crush at the swimming pool on “Aqua Profunda!” Her matter-of-fact, deadpan delivery contrasts with the punky guitars zinging around “Pedestrian at Best” or “Dead Fox,” where traffic-fatality statistics prompt Barnett’s absurdist take: “Maybe we should mull over culling cars instead of sharks,” she sings, “Or just lock them up in parks where we can go and view them.”

Barnett’s music has often been described as “slacker pop,” but as I wrote for Paste, “it takes a lot of discipline and effort to write songs that sound as casual and off-the-cuff as hers do.”

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