After a week in which she dropped a mysterious album teaser online and indie record stores unexpectedly received vinyl copies of a previously unheard song, Courtney Barnett today announced the details of her sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel, and shared its scathing lead single 'Nameless, Faceless'.
Over the past few years, Barnett has made herself a household around Australia and internationally renowned for her distinctive and acclaimed musical lexicon. With her seemingly effortless ability to flip an intensely private sentiment on its head and make it sound universally relatable, Barnett captivated listeners worldwide with her debut album 'Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit'. With the success from her first album leading to her selling out shows across five continents as well as playing the most iconic and revered festivals, won the Australian Music Prize, J Award for Album of the Year, won APRA's Songwriter of the Year as well as winning four ARIAs. On top of this, the album was also nominated for a Grammy and a Brit Award.
So... how do you follow that up?
In Tell Me How You Really Feel, Barnett has revealed an exhilarating and unexpected shift. From its title (A question? An order?) to the unsettling cover image- a blood-red tinted self portrait in uncomfortably tight close up- Barnett sets a new tone. With this new record, Barnett has discovered a new found directness, a muscularity to the instrumentation, a tenderness in her voice and a boldness to the lyrics which speaks to Barnett entering a remarkable new phase of her musical evolution. She's saying more with less. Whereas once she examined the world through a prism of self-analysis, Tell Me How You Feel shifts that to internalise less and focus more on those she interacts with- the good ones, the bad ones, the loved ones. From those she knows intimately to those who are strangers.
Her new single, 'Nameless, Faceless' is an infectious punk rock anthem simmering with indignation as it examines the phenomenon of anonymous internet trolls. Through the song, Barnett uses the medium she knows best to return fire.
Using her songwriting to quote one of the most memorable burns she's received in a comments section, "I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spit out better words than you" the track would be pure comedy if it didn't touch on the anxiety about ones safety in the real world... illustrated perfectly from a famous Margaret Atwood quote "I want to walk through the park in the dark/ Men are scared that women will laugh at them/ I want to walk through the park in the dark/ Women are scared that men will kill them/ I hold my keys between my fingers"
You can pre-order Tell Me How You Really Feel here: courtney-barnett.lnk.to/tmhyrfpr
Or check out 'Nameless, Faceless' below.