Song Exploder is my favorite podcast. I like to listen to a podcast and learn something . Song Exploder is hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway and according to their website, “Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.” The first Song Exploder episode I listened to was about Sylvan Esso’s song Coffee. That’s a great one. My favorite episode however, is the one about Courtney Barnett’s song Depreston. I’m obsessed with Courtney Barnett right now.
I learned from Song Exploder that Courtney Barnett is from Melbourne and was on her way home from an open house in the suburb Preston when she got the idea for the song. The lyrics are about her feelings of intrusiveness when she learns that the house was owned by a now deceased woman and the stuff inside the house is hers. She turned what the relator told her into the lyric, “If you’ve got a spare half a million. You could knock it down and start rebuildin’.” At first she wanted a group to sing this lyric but decided that a round was too, “Sesame Street” and went just with her own voice and that of her bass player’s.
More than the explanation of the lyrics, I enjoyed her talking about the music and how the song was recorded. She said it was easy to write but hard to record because it was so minimum, bare, and vulnerable that everything stuck out. They used brushes on the drums to give the effect of tiptoeing around a dead woman’s house and the guitar solo is meant to sound like a crying lady.
There’s no chorus in the song because as Courtney Barnett says, “Not every song needs a chorus. There’s no rules I songwriting and even if there was I wouldn’t know what they are.” They end the song with the rare nowadays fade out. “You work hard to earn the money to buy a house and raise a family and then you die,” she says. The fade out is like life itself. At the end of the podcast, they play the song in it’s entirety.