Courtney Barnett & Triple J Get Roasted For J Award Win

All hail the rise of the keyboard warrior led by General Irontip Fingers, cynic and critciser of all he observes in the land of World-Wide-Webia. Unbreakable fingers at the ready this army of seasoned opinion-evangelists leapt to the fight when Triple J yesterday announced the J Awards winner of Album of the Year.

Courtney Barnett with her debut studio album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, took out the top spot to cries of ‘RIP aus music [sic]’ the comment topping the Triple J Facebook post announcing her victory with 1291 thumbs up votes, not that Facebook has offered us any balance by providing a thumbs down button yet.


The question of why Barnett won might beg to be answered. Her album was released to critical acclaim in March 2015 with Metacritic aggregating her reviews at a Metascore of 88 from 35 reviews. The judging criteria is simple: ‘the music on the album is the only thing’ taken into account.

Listeners at Triple J disagree with the judging panel and with critics alike (critics are the ones who can be objective about stuff).

Stephen Thomas Erlewine on AllMusic Review says “Barnett is a traditionalist … cranking out ballads and squalls of noise“. Maybe that’s what 1291 likes are objecting to, the squalls of noise. Why should Barnett apologise for her thick Australian drawl or her literal, observational story-ballads though. Erlewine continues singing her praises “Her sly twists of phrase, alternately wry and melancholic, give a greater sense of place, time, and character” to her tunes. Another user, Ray Halliburton, takes Erlewine’s point and hears Barnett question the “mundane aspects of life, to reveal the hidden pains, fears, and joys that make [life] interesting.” And so do we. So many questions.

Maybe, if the haters who are always gonna hate – yeah we went there – stopped to listen, like actually listen to Barnett’s words they would hear a clever lyricist who uses rhyming techniques that would make Dr Seuss uncomfortable in his wonderful world view, of Who?

Who is the answer we want. Who the hell is Corey McDaniel? He who started a petition to ‘Strip Courtney Barnett of Triple J’s Australian album of the year [sic]’. Did McDaniel miss the idea behind That it’s a place for political and world change for things that really matter like injustice, political agendas, and the unheard words of the minority.

May we suggest that what really needs to happen to appease the hordes of disgruntled listeners?

Well we are going to make a suggestion whether you like it or not. We need to hear the voice of the people, a vote against the judges, a double whammy J-Award where the people, the small poppies, vote and the people-in-the-know vote. A secret ballot though, as there’s nothing worse than following a vote and knowing who’s winning the whole time.

We put it to you Triple J, we the people, the majority feeling like the unheard minority want a People’s Choice Award – We shall call it the ‘J We Listened to the Whole Song and Didn’t Change the Station’ award.
For now though, until justice for all is served we are going to take Barnett’s stand and remain unapologetically ourselves. ‘Cause in the end, nothing really matters – and yes, we went there as well.

Erin McGinley


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