Courtney Barnett’s raw take on harassment

20 February 2018

Courtney Barnett’s raw take on harassment

Image credit: Side Stage Collective/Flickr – CC BY-ND 2.0

I’m a huge sucker for Courtney Barnett — my dreams came true when she collaborated with Kurt Vile — so when I saw the sudden release of a single from Courtney’s upcoming album Tell Me How You Really Feel coming out May 18, I was beyond excited to give it a listen.

I know, I know, I sound very biased as I am already a big fan of Courtney’s work, but I can honestly say that I loved “Nameless, Faceless”.

Courtney paints a world that is often all too real for many through her storytelling-style and is able to create a sense of belonging and relatability. In this case she delves into the unfortunately widely-experienced world of harassment — particularly harassment pertaining to females.

My favourite lines of the song are:

I wanna walk through the park in the dark, men are scared that women will laugh at them
I wanna walk through the park in the dark, women are scared that men will kill them.

A really interesting nod at the writings of novelist Margaret Atwood. Sadly, this is still all too true in today’s society, so it was refreshing to have such a raw take on the issue — definitely thought-provoking.

“I hold my keys between my fingers” — I loved this line as it is something I’ve done myself in times of discomfort or fear and I’m sure there are countless other women who have done the same. This line reminded me of a song by Camp Cope called “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steal Beams”.

It’s a far too common lie, and you’ll carry your keys between your knuckles when you walk alone at night.

Beneath the twangy, indie-rock sound is this powerful message. But it’s also inspired musically. It has an interesting progression, starting off with an upbeat rawness with Courtney’s signature sickly-sweet “boppiness”, and takes a heavier turn which amplifies the message of frustration in the lyrics.

The ending feels unfinished and abrupt, but in a good way. Courtney’s voice becomes less and less recogniseable. She becomes more hazy and overpowered with each passing note, and then it ends. It left me wanting more and hitting replay more times than I care to count.

All in all, I really enjoyed this song. Courtney is an amazing songwriter and I was so happy to hear such an energetic take on such a serious issue. I can’t wait for the album to come out, if it sounds anything like the single I’m sure it will be a surefire hit.