Courtney Barnett – “Tell Me How You Really Feel?” (2018)


Label: Milk! Records/Remote Control/Mom + Pop Music/Kobalt/Marathon Artist/Self

Review by Warren Mayocchi

When it contains a song titled “Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self Confidence” it is a courageous album title which asks “Tell Me How You Really Feel?” Going to Courtney Barnett‘s website (check here) allows you to enter your reply and join the others, amongst a wall of text, who have done so previously. As the aforementioned song title suggests Courtney Barnett is a storyteller. The stories she tells come across as personal messages scrawled on random scraps of paper left in the shared apartment for someone. As you read them you wonder if you should, perhaps they were torn from her diary as she left in a careless hurry. The lyrics are another good reason to visit the website, for they are listed out with evocative simplicity, “The city looks pretty when you been indoors / For 23 days I’ve ignored all your phone calls”. When they are combined with Courtney Barnett‘s indie rock musical style – a punkish version of Sheryl Crow – the songs become less private within the shelter of performance. However, the delivery adds other dimensions to the words. Extra emotion is added to the songs with the curled lip snarl, the (almost) disinterested drawl, the caring croon, the wistful remembering. The stark moments described in a song can also be witnessed in music videos for “Need a Little Time” (watch the video here), “Nameless, Faceless” (watch the video here), and “City Looks Pretty” (watch the video here). The last of those is my favorite – it combines kaleidoscopic imagery with the song to create an audio-visual treat. The video for “Nameless, Faceless” helps interpret the song as a puzzled ode to the online trolling culture, but it does become serious when it quotes Margaret Atwood: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them”. Though, you would not realize it if you were half listening to the song. It is a happy tune, blazing away with jangling guitars and an upbeat thumping drum. As for how I really feel, though it is a common request, it is quite a difficult question for some people. Thumbs up or thumbs down, good or bad, with a wide expanse of nothing in-between. What I do know though is Courtney Barnett deserves to feel confident about her new album. It is a thumbs up from me.

Rating – 88/100



  1. Hopefulessness
  2. City Looks Pretty
  3. Charity
  4. Need a Little Time
  5. Nameless, Faceless
  6. I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch
  7. Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence
  8. Help Your Self
  9. Walkin’ On Eggshells
  10. Sunday Roast


Line Up

  • Courtney Barnett – Guitar, Vocals
  • Kim Deal – Backing Vocals (Tracks 5 and 7), Guitar (Track 7)
  • Kelley Deal – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
  • Bones Sloane – Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Dan Luscombe – Keys, Organ, Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Dave Mudie – Drums, Percussion

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