Julien Baker Drops Poignant, Aching New Single "Appointments"
In 2015, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Julien Baker released her debut album, Sprained Ankle, which included nine in-your-face honest, poignant tracks she wrote while in college studying audio engineering and English lit. The record stunned reviewers and automatically gained Baker a loyal fanbase, applauding her songwriting ability, subject matter, and minimalist vocal performances.
Lucky for fans, Baker is back two years later with an upcoming record, Turn Out The Lights. On her Twitter feed this morning, Baker announced the album will be releasing on October 27th with Matador Records, boasting 11 tracks.
Knowing full well that the wait will be tough for fans, she dropped the lead single from Turn Out The Lights today. "Appointments" clocks in at 4 and a half minutes, opening with an anxious, sparkling guitar rhythm as a slow piano note pulses. Baker's tender voice comes in, resignedly singing "I'm staying in tonight / I won't stop you from leaving / I know that I'm not what you wanted." Throughout the song, light layers of urgent guitar and twinkles of piano merge for gorgeous swells, but never overwhelm the stripped-down vocal performance.
"Appointments" is an honest confession of toeing the line between hope and hopelessness. Like all her songs, Baker does this carefully and thoughtfully. Lines like "Maybe it's all gonna turn out alright / And I know that it's not / But I have to believe that it is," profoundly recognize the push-and-pull of misery and ambition. Baker bravely offers a nod to potential happiness, only to confess that though her knowledge suggests there is nothing to hope for, her faith pushes her to at least give it a chance.
For four minutes, Julien Baker expertly captures the dull light that sneaks into the dark corners of battling mental health, hauntingly using her own story to craft a yearning for getting better, the takeaway being that, at least, there is a light. Sparse in its instrumentation and dazzling at its powerhouse moments in which Baker belts the chorus with a palpable ache in her voice, "Appointments" is a stunningly bittersweet ballad from a brilliant songwriter.