I was almost half asleep when I listened to Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile collaboration album last night. It had been a pretty tiring day overall and all I wanted was to not completely waste my evening and to do something relaxing. I found myself listening to this album at 9 pm, for whatever reason. Maybe it had something to do with me being a moderate fan of Courtney Barnett’s output so far (it sure couldn’t have been because of Kurt Vile, whose existence prior to this album I was unaware of; I know that probably knocks down like 50 of my indie cred points, but I don’t have one, so who cares). And it really helped me relax and loosen up, but it did even more than that. It made me feel nostalgia. What for? I’m not entirely sure.
The album has a faux retro feel that doesn’t necessarily harken back to any particular movement in the history of pop music, instead opting for a sound that resembles a highly generalised idea of what music sounded like in the 60’s or 70’s. It also fits perfectly into today’s indie rock scene without it even sounding like a throwback. The lyrics, arranged as dialogues between Barnett and Vile, depict scenes of a charmingly mundane daily life. The rather calm and detached performances of both artists helps re-enforce that mental image. The cohesion between theme and delivery is essential here, because the lyrics are more or less the nexus of the entire album. There is a timeless quality to them, as there is no mention of anything that is immediately relevant now and I don’t mean this as an insult.
It’s that very atemporality that prompted the strange feeling of nostalgia in me. I say strange, because the album didn’t make me reminisce experiences from my own past. Instead, it made me long for something that I haven’t been through yet or for a time period long before I was born. And that is strange. I’m not one of those „born in the wrong generation” types. I don’t sigh along to Lana del Rey songs, decrying the misfortune of me not having lived in the sixties. And I rarely resort to music for a innocent little trip down memory lane (cartoon theme songs at best). But this album brought out that vague feeling of nostalgia out of me so easily. And I think it had all to do with the situation I was in. I listened to it the next day to try to maybe recover some of that trance I was lost in the previous night, but I just couldn’t. Even though I found new appreciation for how well written and witty the lyrics are and how nice the composition are in their simplicity, that special connexion I had with it is lost. It’s a thing of the past. It’s something that I’m nostalgic for, if you can be nostalgic for something that has just happened literally a day ago.
I wasn’t even planning on writing about this album at first, but I found I had quite a lot to say about it. Also „Peeping Tom” gets the award for the most relatable lyrics of the year. „I don’t wanna change, but I don’t wanna stay the same” – seriously, who doesn’t relate to this?
Either an 8.5 or 9/10