Julien Baker
Turn Out The Lights


4.0
excellent

Review

by atrink USER (75 Reviews)
October 27th, 2017 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Maybe it's all gonna turn out all right / Oh, I know that it's not, but I have to believe that it is”

What can be said about Julien Baker that has not already been said? The young singer/songwriter has seen a meteoric rise since 6131 Records discovered her debut album on band camp and rereleased it. With two years of relative fame and a new record label, it would not be unfathomable to believe Baker might start to crack under the pressure. Nothing could be further from the case, as with Turn out the Lights Julien improves upon nearly every aspect of her raw and personal songwriting.

On first listen Turn out the Lights is nearly flawless; each track has a similar tone and similar delivery, yet are markedly different. There seems to be a maturity in the songwriting not present on Sprained Ankle, as the lyrics are more restrained, yet just as hauntingly devastating. The album flows effortlessly between tracks, at times feeling like one monstrous track, plodding its way through depression and self-loathing. This approach, while seemingly daunting to listeners, proves itself effective through immersive emoting.

The album begins not with a bang, but with a subdued, ominous, and haunting string-based intro track that flows seamlessly into album single (and highlight) “Appointments”. This track is quintessential Baker; minimalistic instrumentation coupled with gut wrenching lyrics and with a familiarly melancholic delivery.

Nowhere is Baker’s penchant for quality minimalistic song writing present than in the album’s shortest full track “Sour Breath”. The song is as structured as simply as the rest, yet the track build and builds until the last refrain is repeated over and over, until everything drops out but Baker’s voice. While this idea is nowhere near novel, it is executed to perfection, as the “The harder I swim the faster I sink” will echo through your mind for the rest of your day.

Album closer “Claws in your Back” is without a doubt Baker at her best; this track is arguably her greatest achievement thus far in her young career. Brooding and heavy, this track ebbs and flows its way through familiar ground lyrically before Julien’s most emphatic declaration that she’s’ “changed her mind/ [she] wanted to stay”, a perfect ending to a continuously overwhelming saga.

So maybe you’ve heard this album before. Maybe this familiar ground has you weary. Regardless, this album is as raw, personal, and inspiring as anything around. With Turn out the Lights Baker has once again proven that she has what it takes to be mainstay in a genre that often burns out as quickly as it begins.



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user ratings (560)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
atrink
October 27th 2017


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hm. So I was going to be the first person to post a review on this. my bad.



Regardless, this is my first review in like 3 years, so hopefully you'll be forgiving with comments. I would appreciate any feedback though!

Trebor.
Emeritus
October 27th 2017


59774 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

how do y'all pump out reviews so quickly?

atrink
October 27th 2017


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Today at work I had three prep periods because my students are testing. So instead of grading or doing something useful I listened to this album four or five times.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


25629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tbf it only takes me like an hour or two to pump out a review, but it's hard for me to wrap all my thoughts together on the first day of release haha

Trebor.
Emeritus
October 27th 2017


59774 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It usually takes me several days to process an album, I'm jealous

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


25629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review fam, posipos

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2017


9743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It usually takes me several days to process an album, I'm jealous [2]

AngryJohnny
October 27th 2017


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is gonna be really good init

Project
October 27th 2017


5777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this review kinda feels like a 4.5...that might just be me projecting, since I'm still reeling from the closer. Her voice is incredible, and I'm in exactly the right headspace to be wrecked by her lyrics.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


25629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2] everything you just said

atrink
October 27th 2017


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@projectfreak I initially had it at a 3.5 as I was writing the review. Then as I was revising it I was like "this reads a lot higher than a 3.5"

Taxt
October 27th 2017


1602 Comments


Love this after a few spins, as expected. So bummed I missed her show a few months back

Chortles
October 27th 2017


21494 Comments


^she's quite something live too :-/

Conmaniac
October 27th 2017


27664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

she's so beautiful live ugh

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2017


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, mate.

Jots
Emeritus
October 27th 2017


7557 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

atrink whew it's been a while

atrink
October 27th 2017


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woah. Look at you. A big bad staff reviewer!

Orb
October 28th 2017


9239 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Incredible album



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