All That Glitters is Gold - Julien Baker


This is All That Glitters is Gold, a recurring piece about some of my favorite artists, albums, tracks, and live shows. Here I will write about the music I love, most of which inspired me to start Alt Revue in the first place. I'm excited to highlight this music and talk about how it has impacted me. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into some of my favorites!

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite alt artists in music today, Julien Baker. When I look at the life and career of Julien Baker, it's hard to believe she is only 23 years old because of how much she has accomplished already. I'd like to take a look at her career so far.

(Photo Credit: Nolan Knight)

Julien Baker is from Memphis, Tennessee and her first release Sprained Ankle came when she was only 18 years old in 2015, and was self-recorded by a friend and her in a matter of days, it was released on 6131 Records. It was received with critical acclaim. Sprained Ankle, features nine songs and is haunting in its simplicity and its beauty. It deals with themes of internal struggle of mental health, sexual orientation, and faith.

Sprained Ankle (2015)

Sprained Ankle starts with "Blacktop" an acoustic track that features Baker's vocals prominently. Her use of religious imagery in this track is so prevalent. One lyric that stands out is "A saline communion that I held like a séance on the blacktop, The devil in my arms says feed me to the wolves tonight".

"Sprained Ankle" begins similarly as mellow as "Blacktop". However, it picks up as the track progresses. Baker laments at the beginning of the song "I wish I could songs about anything other than death". Though, this song seems to be more about hindrance and loss. With Baker comparing herself to a marathon runner with a sprained ankle.

"Brittle Boned" deals with mental health and hospitalization and is a fantastic track that ups the ante lyrically and musically on the album. It is a treasure of a song.

"Everybody Does" is a heartbreaking acoustic track that about the loss of love about after having revealed one's true self. A lyrically deep message that touches the soul when listening. This song features dubbed harmonies that I would love to hear how they sound live.

In "Good News" Baker shows off her patented ability to have such a unique cadence and delivery of her lyrics. She'll split a single phrase into two utilizing the best of the verse to get her point across. This song shows this in spades.

"Something" is another song that deals with the loss of love. Throughout the track the narrator laments not having words to say to stop their love from leaving, they just watched as they drove away. The narrator just asks why the love left, but gets no answer from the pavement.