Best Tracks 2015: Courtney Barnett - "Pedestrian At Best"
Fri, 01 Jan 2016 01:19:39
Courtney Barnett Videos
"Pedestrian at Best" is the first single from Courtney Barnett's first full length debut, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. The 28-year-old Australian singer-songwriter had released a few well-received tracks, "Avant Gardener" and "History Eraser," from a handful of previous EPs, but this particular song—an irrepressible existential anthem that recalls the deadpan stylings of Art Brut's Eddie Argos, the esoteric ramblings of Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime," and the all-guts guitar of Liz Phair—helped solidify the buzz that's been slowly building around her (evident from Barnett-dominated year end Best Of lists everywhere, including ours, to a Grammy nod for "Best New Artist").
The reason we love this track is that it positions Barnett as a kind of accidental anti-hero: she's depressed, confused, anxious, and utterly neurotic, mumble-wailing in the refrain, "Put me on a pedestal and I'll only disappoint you/Tell me I'm exceptional and I promise to exploit you/Give me all your money and I'll make some origami, honey/I think you're a joke but I don't find you very funny."
Proving the point, in the video she dons a clown costume and full face makeup and wanders through an amusement park where she's the main source of amusement, in a sad clown kind of way. While mirroring the lyrics quite nicely, it also recognizes that sometimes everyone feels uncomfortable in their own skin. Lucky for us, Barnett is not afraid to sing about it, and isn't particular about what she looks like, as long as the message gets through.
Watch "Pedestrian At Best" from Courtney Barnett:
—The ARTISTdirect Staff
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