Julien Baker’s experiences growing up gay in the deep South, and her subsequent struggles with religion, addiction and sexuality, have created a raw, delicate body of work that thrives on contradiction.
Her voice is gentle but rife with emotion, her lyrics are winding but minimal, and her inspirations draw from her formative years in the punk scene as much as they do from melancholy singer- songwriter contemporaries like Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus.
Her third studio album, Little Oblivions, uses piercing lyrics and full-bodied sound to explore those complexities in a way that’s emotionally raw, enduringly beautiful, and entirely unique.
Baker’s earlier music, with its conversational, earnest lyrical style and stripped-down production, makes listening feel like a childhood best friend is telling you a secret. She hasn’t left that pleading, quiet intimacy behind, but if her debut was a whispered sleepover confessional, Little Oblivions feels like growing up and graduating to screaming your feelings across a crowded club. The layers of bass, synth and pounding drums on Oblivions are a sonic revolution for Baker, who’s always seemed most comfortable with nothing more than her voice and a guitar–but she’s entirely at home here. The emotional intensity she’s brought since day one has found its aural equal.
Little Oblivions is music to cry to, it’s music to dance to, and it’s music that will surely cement Baker as one of the most important indie artists of our generation.