Ali Barter’s debut album A Suitable Girl was one of 2017’s standout records, which most music critics and enthusiasts here at home (Australia) took notice of, especially its unapologetic gender politics. In short, it exemplified the spirit of the age, completely winning me over and in the process becoming my No.1 album of the year. But here is where things kind of get weird. Let me explain….
While music fans and critics alike couldn’t get enough of A Suitable Girl, Ali Barter was kind of freaking out about it. Why? Well, for some reason months after its release she didn’t think it was good enough. Only recently we learnt that she rejected the album, listing an array of complaints about it, namely that it was too polished and that her voice was too high. That said, Barter retreated away from music, apparently determined to never write another song again. To me, personally this news was mind-blowing, I found it difficult to understand her logic. Then again, I am not Ali and the stress of expectation and self doubt must have been really debilitating for her.
To Barter’s credit she used her time away from music to find herself again. She cleared her head and started mucking around on her guitar and in the process penned some new songs. The story goes that after hearing how they sounded, she realised that she didn’t have to fight against herself anymore. In a recent press release Ali said, “When we demoed them up, I was like, Oh, there I am. The thing I was pushing against was me.”
Overcoming a lack of confidence in oneself is something that Ali could probably give us a short life lesson on. That said I’m thrilled that she’s back with her new album, aptly entitled Hello, I’m Doing My Best. In short, Barter’s new album contains all the great guitar driven pop rock of her debut. But it’s fair to say the album’s strength lies essentially in Barter’s ability to reconnect with herself.
In the coming months, I hope to revisit Hello, I’m Doing My Best in some detaill, but for now check out Ali’s latest single from it called Big Ones. Of the track, Barter recently said “I wrote ‘Big Ones’ during a time when I was sorting through the stress of expectation. Expectations from the people I work with, people I live with and mainly the ones I was putting on myself. So the song is essentially about opinions.”