Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights (Matador, 2017)
On Turn Out the Lights, Julien Baker’s second record, she is immensely vulnerable. The album sounds like an open diary, detailing her battles with mental illness, unsettled relationships and waning optimism about the future. While her first project, Sprained Ankle, seemed reluctant at times, the ballads on Turn Out the Lights are defiant and confident. Baker’s voice glides over spacious, piano-driven instrumentals. Her music references her Christianity, without limiting her to a strictly Christian audience. Baker hides pockets of happiness in an album defined by its haunting vocals and melodies. “Sour Breath” is open about alcoholism and loneliness, while on “Hurt Less,” she is candid about her relationship with self-care. Baker is honest and unapologetic over these arrangements, which truly allows her story to flourish.
Trial Track: “Shadowboxing”