Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett
Much like Royal Headache — who were featured at #31 on the list — Courtney Barnett is Australian and likes to rock. Technically Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, is her debut album, even though we’ve been hearing her for at least two years thanks to the good EPs she’s had floating around since 2011.
We’re now in the top five of the countdown, which means you really should buy this album right now. KEXP listeners rated it #1 in 2015. I wanted to, too, but believe it or not, there are four more albums that came out this year that are better than this one.
That said, Sometimes is solid three-part rock & roll from start to finish. When performing live (example here, for KEXP, last year), Barnett sings in a low punk-rock voice, a la (ugh) Courtney Love. But recorded, her voice is a little more clear, with a bit more enunciation, reminding me of a younger PJ Harvey or Liz Phair.
As for songwriting, her lyrics are fantastic. The stories she tells, somehow both deeply personal and universal at the same time, carry you along and remind you of places you’ve been in your own life. At 27, Barnett is wise beyond her years, but it works.
There are many good songs on this album, and there are a few good videos as well. In addition to the great animation for “Dead Fox” above, there’s “Pedestrian at Best,” which I wrote about earlier this year, as wellas videos for two more great songs: “Depreston” and “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party.” I don’t see how you can draw anything other than the same conclusion I did: this woman kicks ass.
6. I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty
7. Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes
8. Another Eternity by Purity Ring
9. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance by Belle and Sebastian
10. Return to the Moon by El Vy
11. Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Lin-Manuel Miranda
12. Art Angels by Grimes
13. The Horse Comanche by Chadwick Stokes
14. Grace Love & the True Loves by Grace Love & the True Loves
15. Shake Shook Shaken by The dø
16. La Di Da Di by Battles
17. Sky City by Amason
18. What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists
19. Untethered Moon by Built to Spill
20. Viet Cong by Viet Cong
21. The Magic Whip by Blur
22. Savage Hills Ballroom by Youth Lagoon
23. Not Real by Stealing Sheep
24. Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats
25. Gliss Riffer by Dan Deacon
26. Dark Bird is Home by The Tallest Man on Earth
27. Gunnera by Pfarmers
28. Swimmer to a Liquid Armchair by Ricked Wickey
29. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
30. Live in Seattle by Moufang / Czamanski
31. High by Royal Headache