Last night, Julien Baker played a 17-minute livestream set from her home. Baker’s set was a part of Lunch Without Borders, a livestream event for Isol-Aid. Gordi curated the show and performed, and the set also featured performances from artists like Shura and Katie Dey. Baker played live in her living room for 17 minutes, and in that she debuted a new song called “Mercy.”
As Brooklyn Vegan points out, Baker opened her set with a cover of “Thirteen,” the absolutely perfect Big Star ballad from 1972. She also played her 2019 single “Red Door” and her 2017 B-side “Distant Solar Systems.” At the end of the song, she played “Mercy” for the first time. Introducing “Mercy,” Baker said, “It’s a new one. It’s not newly written, but it’s not on a record or anywhere. And it’s a song about other people showing you how to be a better person by being better people than you, at you, which requires a lot of humility, which is an important and necessary lesson, and probably one of many that we’re all learning.”
In that living-room livestream rendition, “Mercy” is a soft and devastating piece of work. Baker sings the absolute hell out of it. Somebody did the public service of posting Baker’s entire set on YouTube. “Mercy” begins at the 14:07 mark. Watch it below.
The Isol-Aid livestream raised money for Support Act, an Australian nonprofit dedicated to giving crisis relief to musicians. You can donate to it here.