It’s been nearly 1.5 years since Courtney Barnett’s name started excitedly buzzing around music websites — with the release of (Flavorwire favorite) Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit. But one of the best tracks from the album, “Elevator Operator,” only just got a video. It seems it was worth the wait.
The video (directed by Sunny Leunig) starts with an amusing bait-and-switch nonmusical introduction in which the members of Sleater-Kinney portray apathetically lost tourists. Then a series of images vaguely reminiscent of the narrative of the song tears us away from the members of the band-that-is-not-Courtney-Barnett, as Barnett runs past them in an elevator operator costume.
The song is about an encounter between a young office cog and an older woman who pines after youth – they’re both on their way up to the roof of a skyscraper (the Nicholas Building in Melbourne, where the video also takes place), and she assumes — perhaps based on her own plans/projections — that he’s there to jump, but he reassures her he’s just “idling insignificantly.” (It’s a state of being discussed often in Barnett’s music).
The video, however, doesn’t exactly follow that story, though Barnett is an Elevator Operator (the man in the story says he wishes he could be one). In the video, she’s a bystander to a series of blips of other people’s lives on display the small space.