“I used to think about myself, like I was a talented liar,” Baker sings on the track, “turns out that all my friends were trying to do me a favor.” Here those friends are Baker’s boygenius collaborators, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers. Phoebe says, “Julien is one of those people whose opinion you want to hear about everything. A true critical thinker with an ever-changing and ridiculously articulate worldview. Her music changes in the same way, and this record is my favorite thing she’s ever done. I’m sure I’ll think the same about the next one.”
Lucy noted, “We sang on Favor in Nashville the same day we recorded vocals for Graceland Too and a song of mine. That day had the same atmosphere as when we recorded the boygenius EP. Making music was just a natural result of being together, easy as can be but also rare in a way that feels irreplicable. I love the song for its stark but sensitive picture of friendship, what it looks like to recover from broken trust. Makes me think about how truth only ever breaks what should be broken, and how love is never one of those things. I’m always honored to be brought into Julien’s life and music.”
During a recent at home performance for Seattle’s KEXP, Baker performed songs off ofLittle Oblivions as well as a cover of Soundgarden’s 1995 single “Fell On Black Days.” Watch the full session and interview with host Cheryl Waters here.
The New York Times included Little Oblivions in their “11 Things To Look Forward to In 2021,” column noting “How does a songwriter hold on to honest vulnerability as her audience grows....she scales her music up to larger spaces, backed by a full rock band with ringing guitars and forceful drums. But she doesn’t hide behind them; she’s still ruthless and unsparing, particularly about herself.” Rolling Stone said “Little Oblivions' is not only the most richly produced, pop-aware release of Baker’s career, but also her the most unsparingly honest in its messiness” and Variety stated "While the basics of her autobiographical and cathartic songwriting style remain the same, the arrangements are far more fleshed out with multiple instruments, nearly all of which are played by Baker herself. Without pushing an obvious comparison too far, what Bridgers’ ‘Punisher’ was to 2020, ‘Little Oblivions’ is very likely to be to 2021."
Julien Baker performed, “Faith Healer,” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last month. Filmed in Nashville, TN, Baker is backed by a full band, exemplifying the expansive sound that can be heard on the forthcoming album. Stereogum labeled the performance “stunning” while Rolling Stone noted, “Baker and her backing band moved through the expansive track and built steadily toward its final booming chorus. ‘Oh, faith healer,’ come put your hands all over me,’ Baker sings, pushing her voice to its stunning upper limits.” Calling Baker “one of the most powerful vocalists in all of music,” Uproxxlabeled the performance a “powerhouse” - watch it here.
“Faith Healer” introduced the exhilarating, widescreen musical palette and infectious spirit of risk-taking found on Little Oblivions, a transformative sonic shift from Baker’s more spare and intimate previous work. Engineered by Calvin Lauber and mixed by Craig Silvey (The National, Florence & the Machine, Arcade Fire), both of whom worked with Baker on 2017’s Turn Out the Lights, the album was recorded in Baker’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee between December 2019 and January 2020. Baker’s tactile guitar and piano playing are enriched with newfound textures encompassing bass, drums, synthesizers, banjo and mandolin, with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker. The album weaves unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and often hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for starkly galvanizing storytelling to breathtaking new heights.
In October the news of Little Oblivions upcoming release was a top 20 trending topic on Twitter and several special editions of the album (via Matador Records, Vinyl Me Please, Magnolia Record Club, 6131 Records, and Spotify) sold out almost instantaneously. Preorders are upwards of 6000 units and to date “Faith Healer” has amassed over 2 million streams.