Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel [Mom + Pop, 2018]
Cheeky title notwithstanding, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. didn't just sit. It was an album where a band powered up at just the moment its singer evolved into a guitarist to reckon with as she came up with the best-observed lyrics of her life. Three years later, what little observation there is peers inward--half the songs sound written in a flat she hasn't left in a week. If anything, the band is sharper. But rather than a singer dynamic enough to match it, we get a dynamic guitarist who also happens to be the sole lyricist and solo singer. So be grateful for the Margaret Atwood lift "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," especially for sparking the crucial add-on "I hold my keys between my fingers." And for a finale called "Sunday Roast," where someone she likes comes for a visit. A-