Album Review: Julien Baker — Little Oblivions

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 at 5:19 PM
Album Review: Julien Baker — Little Oblivions by Emma McNeeley

Julien Baker’s third album, “Little Oblivions,” has maintained the artist’s beautiful songwriting, while she’s evolved musically. This is the first of Baker’s albums to contain a full band, including percussion. This shift is noted right away with opening track, “Hardline.”

The change added to the overall impact for me, as it feels like the perfect way to expand her sound. It’s noticeable that a growth in songwriting is occurring too. She’s always been able to tell stories about pain and make it an art form with her albums, which she continues to do here. But the full sounding band adds a heaviness that matches Baker’s vocals.

Baker’s more somber piano ballads also really show a growth in her lyricism and emotional power. “Crying Wolf” starts out with the lines, “Day-one chip on your dresser, get loaded at your house.” This theme of battling addiction is faced once again in “Song in E,” where the narrator admits their drinking problem, saying, “I wish that I drank because of you and not only because of me/Then I could blame something painful enough.”

Baker has always been one with emotionally jarring lyrics and "Little Oblivions” is no different. “Heatwave” is another gripping example that stood out to me. Baker sings, “I’ll wrap Orion’s belt around my neck and kick the chair out, on a long spiral down.”

This is something I would love to hear more of in the future. Her songs with just a piano or guitar have an impact, certainly, but if she continues to keep this larger sound, it rings just the same.

Emma McNeeley is the News Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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