On Julien Baker’s new single, the Murfreesboro musician doesn’t sound desperate so much as fitfully resigned. “Something” chronicles the aftermath of a hurried goodbye, the kind of departure that upends your insides and makes the world feel like it’s caving in on itself. The kind that you’ve seen coming for a long time. In the case of this single, that goodbye happens in a parking lot as Baker’s narrator watches a beloved one drive off without hearing her parting words. “I should’ve said something, I couldn’t find something to say/ So I just said nothing, sat and watched you drive away.” But Baker’s pain transcends her internal, cavernous well of thought and into her tangible surroundings: “I should let the parking lot swallow me up, choking your tires and kicking up dust/ Asking aloud why are you leaving? The pavement won’t answer me.” An unmastered version of this song has been one of Baker’s solo staples for awhile now, and alongside her work with Memphis’ Forrister, it’s just a small example of the crushing, introverted songwriting she’s capable of. Baker is only 19, and her forthcoming debut album, Sprained Ankle, was recorded at Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb studios in Richmond, the same studio that wrought Natalie Prass’ staggering debut album. Listen to Sprained Ankle’s title track, check out an old live video of Baker performing “Something” in a parking lot (where else?), and hear the mastered studio version of the track below.
Sprained Ankle is out 10/23 on 6131 Records. Pre-order it here.
[Photo by Jake Cunningham.]