“Nameless, Faceless,” the first song Courtney Barnett shared from her upcoming album Tell Me How You Really Feel, was pretty good, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little underwhelmed. Second single “Need A Little Time,” on the other hand, has completely bowled me over. It’s out today with a deeply memorable video by Danny Cohen, and I highly recommend you watch.
The song itself finds gorgeous sophistication in gestures that seem simple on their face. There are subtle shifts in perspective: “I need a little timeout from me and you” becomes “You need a little timeout from you and me.” There are surreal, leftfield observations: “Shave your head to see how it feels/ Emotionally, it’s not that different/ But to the hand it’s beautiful.” There are many other lines that give you just enough detail to imagine what kind of relationship is unspooling. It’s brilliant, economical songwriting on that front.
Musically, too, “Need A Little Time” seems like a fairly straightforward chord progression, catchy but not showy, and then suddenly it’s a ripping guitar masterclass that reminds me of Radiohead’s The Bends among other classics. Consider me stunned.
Finally, there’s the visual accompaniment, which sets Barnett at some alien outpost and then floating through outer space. Like the song, the clip spins a whole universe (literally, in this case) out of relatively simple ingredients. Some of these shots feel instantly iconic to me. Maybe you’ll agree? Find out below.
Tell Me How You Really Feel is out 5/18 on Milk/Mom + Pop. Pre-order it here.