Who Should Buy This: Those who value the artistic journey of storytelling, people who enjoy deep male vocals, and alternative music fans who appreciate old school, folk-inspired music. (See also Parental Guidance below.)
Album: The Attractions of Youth
Artist: Barns Courtney
Genre: alternative, folk, rock
Music Rating: 7/10
Lyrics Rating: 7/10
Sounds Like: Bishop Briggs, Kaleo, KONGOS,
Best thing About this Album: Am I allowed to say the album cover? Kidding! (But it is pretty amazing.) I think the best thing is the pure organic energy that shifts and aligns musically and lyrically every few tracks. The writing process feels very grounded and authentic, and I love when that energy emanates from these songs.
One thing I wish was different: I don’t really love the music or lyrics of this full album. I love the music and lyrics of several of the tracks though. So, if you’re asking my opinion, I would’ve much rather seen less journey and more destination from the songwriting process. To each their own! The journey is really what gives this album its unique artistic fingerprint, so I can appreciate that. It’s just not my personal preference.
Website: Barns Courtney
Favorites: Glitter & Gold, Golden Dandelions, Champion, Little Boy
Parental Guidance: People who get easily offended at religion (pro or anti) might want to pass on this album. Hands is a (tame) narrative about tracking down a girl after a one-night-stand. Hellfire might be offensive to some people? I’d recommend you read through the lyrics if the title gives you pause. Hobo Rocket has a swear word at the end of the second verse. Champion has some religious undertones in it. Kicks contains the phrase “drink until I’m dead”. Never Let You Down talks about “hands wrapped round my neck” that “leave me black and blue”. It also mentions the Bible and says “we’ll be damned”, but it is used in the literal sense of damnation rather than as an expletive. Later on, it mentions the Kama Sutra and talks about “drunk love” in the same breath as “Give us, Lord, our daily bread”. Probably not suitable for children. Rather Die says “I came to kill ’em” in the chorus and later says “Jesus made me outta flesh, and I’m a fornicator”.
This is a playlist of all of the songs from the album that will automatically play through the whole album. To skip to a particular song, click on the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner.
With Halloween just a few days away, I thought it’d be a fun time to revisit an album with a bit of a darker spin on positive energy. The Attractions of Youth is definitely a story from opening track to ending, told in the form of high-energy alternative folk-inspired music.
The centerpiece of this album, for me, is Golden Dandelions, which is a beautiful exploration into the expanses of death and our final “resting place”. But rather than closing the book on life and putting an end to the story, this track comes near the beginning of the album and seems to dive into the beginning of new adventures, experiences, and sensations unknowable to the living.
The music on this album ranges from heavily effected pedal guitars, more acoustic steel strings, thumping bass, treble-heavy tack piano, the occasional violin, and we even get some harmonica action! Tracks range from pensive to explosive, with plenty of stomp and jangle in between.
Here are some of my favorite lines from each track to give you a better lyrical sample of the whole album. Take a look and then take a listen!
“Sold my soul to the sweet melody. Now I’m gone.” — Fire
“Do you ponder the manner of things in the dark?” — Glitter & Gold
“We watched the bands until the stars burn out the morning sky.” — Hands
“Aren’t we bright in the candlelight?” — Golden Dandelions
“Hellfire, hellfire, take my soul. I’m waiting, waiting. I’m ready to go.” — Hellfire
“You know, I still got rhythm if I don’t get paid.” — Hobo Rocket
“Hear my song, and hear my rhyme.” — Hobo Outside Tesco, London (Interlude)
“Take my pain, and turn it into gold.” — Champion
“I’ll play until my fingers bleed. I’m living off of quality.” — Kicks
“We’re on the cynical side.” — Never Let You Down
“Were you born too old and afraid to die?” — Goodbye John Smith
“Little boy inside my chest, beat my heart just like a drum. Tell him I’ll never forget how it was when we were young.” — Little Boy
“I can touch the planets through the roof of my car.” — Rather Die
“You don’t live now, you never will.” — The Attractions of Youth
That’s it. If you loved any of these songs, please consider supporting Barns Courtney by purchasing them from his website or on your favorite digital music store (iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, etc.)
And holler at me in the comments! I’d love to talk to you all about this album.