Courtney Barnett is known for her careful observance of small moments that otherwise go unnoticed amongst the landscape of daily life and is frank regarding her relative position to these places and perpetrators. On her third full-length, the brand new Things Take Time, Take Time, Barnett trades the more sonically abrasive outsider’s viewpoint found throughout her earlier work for a softer introspection, a Barnett tempered by a solo experience of time. Peeled back, Barnett is as considerate as ever and takes listeners beneath the surface to a place of gentle connection. “I feel like I was intentionally trying to find the positives in things. In the past, if something upset me, or if I found something painful, I would make a joke about it or say how much I didn't care about it. This time, I was more aware of that, and not trying to cover things up so much. The last album, I would talk about how it was vulnerable, but in hindsight I feel like it was very guarded. This one actually feels vulnerable.”
The record opens on “Rae Street,” Barnett’s alone and watching the neighborhood through the lens of the well-traveled. “It’s an acceptance of life ambling along — life happens, and you roll with it,” Barnett says. “The world is so pointless, and so fucked in so many ways, but there's so many beautiful little, small moments happening.”
Finding the sweet in sour times moves through the record in silver lines, friends looking in on one another in isolation like on “Take It Day By Day” and “Write a List of Things To Look Forward To.” “I found a deeper communication with people in my life — deeper conversations,” Barnett explains, “And a new level of gratitude for friendships that had been there for so long that I had maybe taken for granted.” Then there’s the love song, a first. “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight” finds Barnett ascending in the joy of the full-blown crush. “I think my stance in the past was like, ‘There's so many love songs and they don't mean anything,’ but there's something really special about zooming in on a moment and capturing it,” she says.
Listeners of WNRN and WTMD are sharing Barnett’s view of “Rae Street,” and “Write A List of Things To Look Forward To” is finding spins at WXPN, WPYA, and Colorado Sound, among others. Things Take Time, Take Time is out now on Mom + Pop.
Photo by Mia Mala McDonald