Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I’m getting young.
As I approach my sixth decade of existence, twenty year olds are speaking to me in meaningful ways through music. Some might find this unusual, but when I add in the fact that I’ve learned more from our twenty-something daughters than I have from most anyone else, everything adds up.
Julien Baker first hit my radar in her guise as a member of 2018’s self-titled boygenius EP (highly recommended) along with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Ducas — a supergroup as far as I’m concerned — who show up on “Favor” here. Baker’s music is, on its surface, straight forward fare even with the caveat of Baker playing most everything you hear here. What’s not straight forward is the depth and breadth of the stories she tells through song.
There’s a funny thing about praise — namely the person doing the praising must be in a position of equal or greater understanding than the thing being praised. In my decades of reading reviews, this is rarely the case. At best reviewers offer appreciation and elucidation, at their worst, reviews are the writer’s ego on parade. “Genius!” So says the writer who has deemed themselves in a position equal to or above said genius. Yuck.
I love, love this record. If you can listen through “Song in E” without feeling pain, I feel for you.