Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To

Album: Things Take Time, Take Time (2021)
Play Video


  • In early 2020, Courtney Barnett was in such a dark place, one of her friends felt compelled to stage an intervention. They suggested she write a list of constructive things she's looking forward to in the future. Such was her negative state of mind, the list remained empty for weeks, but once Barnett moved apartments, living alone for the first time in her life, slowly it filled. Eventually, she ended up with 25 verses, which Barnett edited down to this song.

    "I was trying to find the positives in a negative situation," the Australian singer-songwriter said of the track to The Independent.
  • In writing her list, Barnett found a fresh appreciation of her friends, which made its way into the song.

    Nobody knows, why we keep trying, why we keep trying
    And so on it goes, I'm looking forward to the next letter that I'm gonna get from you

    Barnett said it's a song about both darkness and friendship. "I found a deeper communication with people in my life - deeper conversations," she explained. "And a new level of gratitude for friendships that had been there for so long that I had maybe taken for granted."
  • The bright, jangly instrumentation contrasts with the lyrics. "I like that the music feels so enjoyable," said Barnett to Rolling Stone. "It sounds such as you're driving throughout a freeway and it's sunny. I like the juxtaposition of these issues."
  • Barnett recorded the song for Things Take Time, Take Time, an album written over two years and laid down in December 2020 and early 2021 with producer/drummer Stella Mozgawa. The Warpaint band member played drums on Barnett's 2017 duets album with Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice.
  • As Australia pursued a long-term lockdown policy to keep COVID outbreaks at bay, Barnett needed a personal and creative rethink for the album. She discarded all the songs she'd written for Things Take Time, Take Time, bar one. "Write a List of Things to Look Forward To" was the only track to survive the cull.
  • Christina Xing's video finds Barnett receiving a succession of affectionately packaged gifts in the mail from friends.

Comments: 1

  • Klare Davalle from Los AngelesWhat does it mean when an ex boyfriend sent you the song after he brutally broke up with you in the worst way?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.

Janet Jackson

Janet JacksonFact or Fiction

Was Janet secretly married at 18? Did she gain 60 pounds for a movie role that went to Mariah Carey? See what you know about Ms. Jackson.

Movie Stars In Music Videos

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.

Charlie Benante of Anthrax

Charlie Benante of AnthraxSongwriter Interviews

The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the Song

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.