Punk Rebooted

Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit


The cover of Courtney Barnett’s debut album released in 2015.

Kheyal Roy-Meighoo, Technical Director and Audio Director

For those who wish that the good ol’ days of punk rock were back, you’re in luck.  Australian artist Courtney Barnett has brought back the sounds of the early American punk music scene of the ’70s.

Mixing the unabashedly moronic lyrics of Modern Lovers with the cryptic feminism of the Patti Smith Group, Barnett uses simple arrangements of guitars, bass and drums to create a textured sound refreshingly different from other contemporary artists.

Barnett’s album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit ranges from aggressive guitar and drum-driven rockers to gentle ballads.  Each song on the album is remarkable in its own right, but one of my favorites is “Pedestrian at Best” because of its catchy tune and its relevant lyrics.  In the chorus, Barnett sings, “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you,” protesting a culture where wimmin are put on “pedestals” and judged by others.  She follows, “I think you’re a joke but I don’t find you very funny.”

Another great song on the album is “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party.”  This song features a basic three-chord riff, while the chorus consists of one line that she repeats, “I wanna go out but I wanna stay home.”  This is an upbeat and lively song that alternates between an almost spoken-word verse and a melodic chorus that you can’t help but sing along to.

As someone who likes music from decades past, I can vouch that this album reinvents punk rock and revives a fiercely independent attitude in popular music that has nearly been forgotten by today’s artists.  With both the catchy upbeat songs and bittersweet melodies of Courtney Barnett’s debut album, she’ll get anyone laughing, crying, thinking, or sometimes just sitting.