Courtney Barnett – “Elevator Operator” (Singles Going Steady)

Courtney Barnett is one of the most gifted storytellers working in the contemporary indie scene.

Pryor Stroud: Without argument, Courtney Barnett is one of the most gifted storytellers working in the contemporary indie scene. “Elevator Operator” doesn’t just prove this assertion, it emblematizes it. Fussy, slyly anthemic, and saturated with Barnett’s flatly-delivered narrative witticisms, it’s a work of rambunctious folk-punk fiction about an office drone who’s mistaken for a suicidal depressive. “You’ve got your whole life ahead of you / You’re still in your youth / I’d give anything to have skin like you,” Barnett sings in the chorus, embodying the older woman who commits this misperception, and as she lingers on “you”, falling slightly off key, the mindset of self-loathing and quotidian agony that she’s channeling comes vividly to the fore. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: It’s tempting to over-analyze Courtney Barnett, but the truth is that her talents are quite easy to interpret: she’s a terrific songwriter with a gift for great hooks and melodies. “Elevator Operator” has a warm, sunny groove with a lazy but tuneful vocal delivery, powered by chugging rhythm guitar and a pounding Fender Rhodes. I hear a bit of a classic Kinks sound mixed in with some modern-day Wilco-ish indie rock. The next time some old fart who grew up on ’70s power pop bitches about the lack of good music nowadays, play them this song. And then get off their lawn. Fun, cameo-stuffed video, too. [8/10]

Chad Miller: It’s nice to see Barnett incorporating her signature humor into her videos. This song was the perfect opener to her album. Barnett is a fantastic storyteller, infusing her narrative with both humor and sentiment. The song is extremely catchy too, and her unique sounding guitar playing and vocal delivery provide the track with the characterization that it needs to thrive. [9/10]

SCORE: 8.33

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