Concert preview: Courtney Barnett at Newport Music Hall
There's a plainspoken, economical sense of humor in nearly every one of Courtney Barnett's songs. On the Aussie songwriter's 2015 breakout album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, she seemed to deliver every line with a face so straight you couldn't help but smirk. “I lay awake at three, staring at the ceiling/It's a kind of off-white, maybe it's a cream,” Barnett sang on “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in NY),” a slacker-rock ode to love-induced insomnia.
In many ways, not much has changed on Barnett's new album,Tell Me How You Really Feel. “I spend a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing,” she sings on “Sunday Roast.” But with Barnett, her ennui never feels like a gimmick. She shrugs like she means it, sounding more confident than ever in her indecision on “City Looks Pretty”: “Sometimes I get sad/It's not all that bad/One day, maybe never, I'll come around.”
On “Nameless, Faceless,” Barnett also boldly explores the darkness she endures simply by existing as a woman. “I wanna walk through the park in the dark/Women are scared the men will kill them,” she sings. And yet, she still manages to inject the song with empathy toward her haters. “I wish that someone could hug you,” she sings, and, a few lines later, she takes on the role of consoler herself: “I'm real sorry 'bout whatever happened to you.”(Don't miss it)
Newport Music Hall
7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14
1722 N. High St., Arena District
ALSO PLAYING: Vagabon