Courtney Barnett: “An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In NY)”

Photo by Tajette O’Halloran

This week, the Song of the Day spotlights SXSW 2015 artists. Check back every day for a free download and show information.

Courtney Barnett’s charm helps her smuggle some pretty hefty topics inside her story-songs. On “Avant Gardener,” her own creeping boredom took on apocalyptic levels, matched to a three-chord vamp that seems to mimic her own panic attack. She pulls off the same trick on “An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In NY),” but this time the pain cuts deeper.

Barnett has stated that the song was written during her first-ever international tour, when raised expectations mixed with homesickness and her own longing for her girlfriend. Matched to a rock-steady beat, Barnett’s observations on the song have a poignancy that anybody can relate to. Staring at a cracked ceiling becomes a metaphor for her own life as it spirals into a higher gear–a portrait of an artist on the cusp of greatness. Download a Studio 1A version of “An Illustration Of Loneliness” below and catch Barnett at SXSW 2015.

–Art Levy

Thursday, March 19: Cedar Street Courtyard, 12 a.m. (official showcase)

Friday, March 20: Public Radio Day Stage, 5 p.m. (official showcase, broadcast live on KUTX)

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