Julien Baker’s Boundary Busting Playlist - SolidRumor.com

Julien Baker’s Boundary Busting Playlist

 Julien Baker’s Boundary Busting Playlist

Whether she’s listening to music or writing it, Julien Baker likes to go to difficult places. As a teenager in Tennessee, the singer-songwriter dove deep into the hardcore scene, thriving on the most abrasive sounds she could find. The music she makes today is far more beautiful, melodically speaking, than the punk and metal of her early years, but in some ways, it’s even more brutal. With her soaring voice and piercing lyrics, Baker rips hearts from chests with songs of pain, doubt, and despair. At 25, she’s just released her third solo album, Little Oblivions. It’s her loudest, most fully realized record so far, posing big questions on tough subjects about God, love, and addiction and sobriety.

To write Little Oblivions, Baker sought to challenge herself as a listener. “I’ve been intentionally trying to seek out music that I wasn’t aware of, or maybe didn’t ‘get’ on first pass,” she tells GQ. She was particularly drawn to songs and artists that don’t fit easily into genre categories, music that deliberately makes the listener a little uncomfortable. That includes artists that she wishes were around when she was younger, like Dorian Electra, or those she didn’t fully appreciate at the time, like Al Green.

Baker walked GQ through some of those difficult, influential songs in the playlist below. “When I started making this playlist, I started with things that are influencing and challenging me now. Then it moves to things that were revolutionary to me earlier,” she explains. Along the way, she talked about her love of punk rock, growing up queer in the south, and how she once quit her job to play a show in a parking lot. These songs, like her own, show how discomfort can be something familiar, and even a source of strength.

“Favor” by Julien Baker

“Favor” was tricky for me personally. Like, do I really want to have this Linkin Park breakbeat in there, and also this shimmery guitar reverb? That was the weirdest, hardest one for me to become comfortable with on the record.

“ALL FUTURES” by The Armed

I’ve been aware of the Armed for a couple of years. It’s more of a collective than a band. There’s this intentional anonymity around who is in the band; the lineup is always changing. I love that.

This song touches on a lot of things sonically that remind me of my youth, but it does them in a very tasteful way. There are obviously these threads to metalcore and Nine Inch Nails-y drum machines, but they’ll also turn around and have a Deafheaven blast beat, major chord triumph. Those are the elements of hardcore that I like, where chords are dissonant and time signatures are irregular. There’s a need to challenge and disrupt the traditional conceptualization of music. And then there’s this collective taking it another step further by letting the music stand on its own, separating it from the one governing persona of a band. You almost feel the chaos of having no stable center.

Add Comment