Courtney Barnett is back with the third single and music video, “City Looks Pretty” for her forthcoming album, “Tell Me How You Really Feel” available May 18 via Milk! Records.
“City looks pretty” is a lyric lifted from Joni Mitchell’s “Night In The City.”
Mitchell’s lyric is, “Night in the city looks pretty.”
Barnett told Rolling Stone that there was no concise direction for the album, but many of the songs come from a place of frustration, uncertainty, and figuring ‘things’ out. Saying that, “I just wanted to make an interesting album for myself.”
“I just tried to figure some things out and it kind of turned into something bigger,” she explained.
“It’s kind of an interesting way to sit face-to-face with yourself every day and try to sort out what’s going on with yourself.”
The album features backing vocals from Kim and Kelly Deal. The Deals asked Barnett to sing on their last album, so Barnett did the same.
“City Looks Pretty” is a pretty hopeless song. Perhaps the most biting lyric coming at the end, “I’ll be what you want oh when you want it/But I’ll never be what you need.”
The composition does the lyrics justice, starting as an angsty punk track before trailing off into an introspective extended guitar solo. The track gets a little ambient and phychadelic, aided by Barnett’s trippy guitar tone, but eventually ramps up into a blistering solo.
The song also builds upon the album title, “It’s a viscous winter, you never say what you mean/Your friends treat you like a stranger/And strangers treat you like their best friend.”
The tracks thus far have all held a frustrated or emotionally drained theme. Which Barnett explained as a feeling of hopelessness when you would really like to be hopeful.
“Tell Me How You Really Feel” is out May 18 via Barnett’s own Milk! Records. The album was recorded with bassist Bones Sloan and drummer Dave Mudie, who have been with Barnett since her debut, Drones guitarist Dan Luscombe. It was produced by Barnett, Burke Reid, and Luscombe. The album artwork is also by Burnett.