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“DD Review: Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice.”

Score: 1/10

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Wow, there are so many awful things about this album I don’t even know where to start. The first is that it’s basically exactly like Kurt Vile’s last album, which was a creepy “pimpin’”-referencing pile of big slop, and in turn was exactly like Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze.
Now, as is the case with sundry different musics and musical documents, it matters somewhat whether you embark upon this project from its starting point, or if you chance onto a middle segment. I think I speak for most people when I say that in 2015, in the midst of definitely some serious musical ennui what with the popularity and even critical acclaim of Fetty Wap, Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, I could sit down and listen to this stock, readymade brand of Kurt-rock and be somewhat impressed by the tones’ clarity. When I set Lotta Sea Lice down for a moment halfway through “Let it Go” and then came back to it, what struck me was the incredible, daunting level of apathy etched into the vocals of both of these individuals. This is boundlessly, undeniably the work of musicians which have incurred an inordinate amount of praise and popularity. It has “gone to their heads,” in other words. I am not in any way denying the greatness, mind you, of Smoke Ring for Your Halo or Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit [1].
But two things are clear to me about Kurt Vile from listening to this project. One is that he thinks he’s funny and he’s not. The other is that his confidence in his songwriting is so moribund, nay, the sense in his mind that there’s any point to doing this whatsoever, that he cloaks his vocals in this ridiculous fake redneck accent, just like… HEY… all those douche bag Drake-mimicking rappers of earlier this decade! Dude, is this my 2015 class reunion? Lotta Sea Lice may not be as bad as David Byrne and St. Vincent’s Love This Giant (and the cover art DEFINITELY isn’t as bad), but all the cheesy “cooperation” and interaction here makes Neil Young’s childish irresponsibility of ditching Stephen Stills and abandoning their tour look plenty more forgivable than it did prior.
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[1] God, just writing that incredibly arduous, self-obsessed album title reminds me of Barnett’s boring, pointless introspection of faux-artistry all over Lotta Sea Lice.

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