"Avant Gardener" as written by and Courtney Barnett....
I sleep in late
Another day
Oh what a wonder
Oh what a waste.
It’s a Monday
It’s so mundane
What exciting things
Will happen today?
The yard is full of hard rubbish it’s a mess and
I guess the neighbors must think we run a meth lab
We should amend that
I pull the sheets back
It’s 40 degrees
And i feel like I'm dying.
Life’s getting hard in here
So i do some gardening
Anything to take my mind away from where it’s supposed to be.
The nice lady next door talks of green beds
And all the nice things that she wants to plant in them
I wanna grow tomatoes on the front steps.
Sunflowers, bean sprouts, sweet corn and radishes.
I feel pro-active
I pull out weeds
All of a sudden
I’m having trouble breathing in.
I’m having trouble breathing in.
I’m having trouble breathing in.
I’m having trouble breathing in.

My hands are shaky
My knees are weak
I can’t seem to stand
On my own two feet
I’m breathing but I'm wheezing
Feel like I'm emphysemin’
My throat feels like a funnel
Filled with weet bix and kerosene and
Oh no, next thing i know
They call up triple o
I’d rather die than owe the hospital
Till I get old
I get adrenalin
Straight to the heart
I feel like Uma Thurman
Post-overdosing kick start
Reminds me of the time
When i was really sick and i
Had too much psuedoefedryn and i
Couldn’t sleep at night
Halfway down high street, Andy looks ambivalent
He’s probably wondering what i’m doing getting in an ambulance
The paramedic thinks I'm clever cos i play guitar
I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying
Anaphylactic and super hypocondriactic
Should’ve stayed in bed today
I much prefer the mundane.
I take a hit from
An asthma puffer
I do it wrong
I was never good at smoking bongs.
I’m not that good at breathing in.
I’m not that good at breathing in.
I’m not that good at breathing in.


Lyrics submitted by HalfBakedSkillet, edited by evanreyes, KarlieRose, goonerfan

"Avant Gardener" as written by Courtney Barnett

Lyrics © THIRD SIDE MUSIC INC.

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Avant Gardener song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is largely about being lazy and giving up before you even try instead of facing the fears of failure or hardwork.

    The song starts with Courtney lamenting how boring everything is ("oh what a wonder, oh what a waste.") We see this in the sarcastic delivery of "i wonder what exciting things will happen today" as well.

    The yard looking like shit is the beginning of the metaphor in my eyes. Courtney's yard is her life. It's a mess. Garbage is just piling up and she is doing nothing to fix any of it because it's too hot (40 degrees) or because she's tired (i pull the sheets back). But she wants to fix it. She really wants to turn her life around and we see that in her wanting to "amend" her neighbors perceptions of her and because life is getting too hard to live now.

    However, she decides to make a show of her change instead of actually changing it. She will become an "avant gardener". A gardener like no other before! She has grand aspirations about her change and talks about how great everything will be when she is done instead of just working on the change itself. She actually gets started by addressing the problem (pulling out weeds) but is immediately laid out by her struggles with breathing. This can be metaphorical for her truly realizing how big the problem before her is and how pep talking herself is not going to be enough to make the problem go away on it's own. It's going to be a TON of work and a serious lifestyle change.

    Courtney's relating of her symptoms is similar to that of a panic attack. Everything is falling apart around her and she's sees her decision to start gardening as being a bigger and bigger mistake as triple 0 is called and now she is going to owe the hospital etc etc. Ultimately she regrets deciding to make something of her life but is still inspired by those who have (I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying). She wishes she had just stayed in bed and avoided this whole mess of confronting her problems in the first place. She was comfortable sleeping in. Why change that? But still at the end, we see she isn't comfortable or even good at things that take no effort at all(i was never good at smoking bongs). Courtney feels trapped by not wanting to work at bettering herself because it is daunting but simultaneously not enjoying her current state of affairs. She believes she is meant for more, but is terrified of the work it will take.

    just my thoughts.
    Bananarchyon May 22, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA lovely rambling stream-of-consciousness about... an asthma attack? With a kind of mary jane theme (weeds, bongs, can't use the asthma inhaler), as well as other drugs in low dosage. A hypochondriac who is also heavily under the influence.
    phaserwarrioron January 17, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is what Courtney has said, "Avant Gardener is all true. Apart from the adrenalin to the heart, like in Pulp Fiction. I just got adrenalin in the top of the thigh...But in the heart sounded so much more exciting! Most songs are stories. Some are more elaborate than others."
    Also, I think the correct lyric is 000, as in triple zero. This is the number you call in Australia for ambulance, police, fire,etc. Anyway, brilliant song and lyrics!
    scratcheron May 19, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI first heard this song a couple of years ago when CB released her second EP and loved it but never fully appreciated the meaning until I experienced anxiety myself. "I'm not that good at breathing in." Courtney herself has said what she went through on that day may well have been a panic attack.

    What I love most about this song though, as an Australian, is that it became internationally famous despite being chock full of uniquely Australian references. Just to explain a few to any American fans out there:

    40 degrees = real hot
    Triple O = 000, the number for an ambulance
    High St = the main street in Northcote, Melbourne. A very hipster street.
    Weet Bix = Australian breakfast cereal.
    MelbourneManon May 13, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfinally……a song about anaphylactic shock…….just so lovely and smart…..bowieisgod…..xoxo
    pilarzjon December 22, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo begin, when I listen to this, I feel a deep unbridled passion inside. Like in a way, that this song is telling me what I am supposed to be doing with my life. These feelings don't line up with the lyrics, or do they?

    "I sleep in late, another day, oh what a wonder, oh what a waste" -I feel this way when I am not passionate about life. It just so happens that growing food sparks these feelings.

    "Im having trouble breathing in"- yea, so she did have an asthma attack...but the only time I personally "literally" feel like I have a hard time breathing in is when I am not fallowing my heart. Doing the 9-5 job regular social system world beats me right in the chest. it breaks my heart, giving me a hard time breathing.

    "I much prefer the mundane"- To me, this is by far, the cherry on top. I feel on fire hearing this. It's like the most sarcastic kick-butt phrase I have ever heard. I see a world brimming with life and just saying as a joke that "I much prefer the mundane". Does Barnett really prefer the mundane? Because going after a fulfilling life means being at risk, to even asthma. So yea, she took the one small step for man kind out the door and keeled over, but because of that she created this awesome song! So yea, I hope Barnett keeps bringing us some more mundane stuff.
    oakioatson February 18, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an ironic and semi-autobiographical account of a manic depressive who tries to turn her life around through gardening, only to be foiled by a nearly-fatal allergic reaction. BTW - Check out Courtney's new single, Pedestrian at Best
    Robert128on March 26, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an ironic and semi-autobiographical account of a manic depressive who tries to turn her life around through gardening, only to be foiled by a nearly-fatal allergic reaction. BTW - Check out Courtney's new single, Pedestrian at Best
    Robert128on March 26, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuotes 'All Shook Up', sung by Elvis Presley:

    My hands are shaky
    My knees are weak
    I can’t seem to stand
    On my own two feet
    wellhamsruson April 11, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"all of a sudden,
    Im havin trouble breathin in. "
    Is a quintessential Meta-phrase ; ie. it breaks the song away from or takes it through the stream of conscious meandering narrative of another day -Monday- over the top to the level of Identity of/with the singer herself as she experiences her stage fright or performance anxiety masked as an asthma attack as she plays /reaches out to us/her audience, for reassurance ! It fundamentally establishes a personal connection between her and the listener as a tug on our empathic emotion and humanity , brings us in very close to her performing anxiety which is really nice of her to invite us this way into the music. Nothing more .
    Thank you Courtney . I like feeling not just the music but the performance and all that goes into it as art.
    steve14277on May 24, 2015   Link

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