“I lay awake at four, staring at the wall
Counting all the cracks backwards in my best French
Reminds me of a book I skim-read in a surgery
All about palmistry, I wonder what's in store for me
I pretend the plaster is the skin on my palms
And the cracks are representative of what is going on
I lose a breath, my love-line seems intertwined with death
How awesome are those lyrics?! Courtney Barnett in “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” compares her cracked walls to palmistry as a way to explain how unsure she is about her future, while ending the verse on talking about how shitty her love life is. Her ultra-descriptive lyrics don’t always add up to some beautiful meaning. Rather they add up to a very relatable experience. In the second verse for example:
“I lay awake at three, staring at the ceiling
It's a kind of off-white, maybe it's a cream
There's oily residue zipping from the kitchen
It's art-deco necromantic chic, all the dinner plates are kitsch with
Irish Wolf Hounds, French baguettes wrapped loose around their necks
I think I'm hungry, I'm thinking of you too”
This verse oozes with descriptions of her kitchen, and then she ends not so subtly with “I think I’m hungry.” The fact that she’s hungry while in her kitchen isn’t so mind blowing, but the way she so effortlessly jumps from one subject to the next might be. I mean, we do it in our everyday life right? Picture this: “I’m walking to my car. The stars above me are so bright, and I’m jamming to “Fat Old Sun” by Pink Floyd. I’m about to walk up the stairs, and I see an armadillo next to a bush. I immediately think of you. I miss you”. See? I just went from Pink Floyd to some guy that looks like an armadillo. I mean obviously Courtney Burnett’s verses are 1000x better, but the point is that she so awesomely paints her life in songs. It’s great to hear a song about heartbreak, first love, anxiety, etc. without ever actually hearing those words. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy listening to her music and visualizing her thoughts; it feels like I’m hearing an audio book.
Stay tuned for her second album, “Tell me How You Really Feel” coming out May 18th!