Album of the Week: Julien Baker’s Turn Out the Lights

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Julien Baker has been making music since she was an high school sophomore. At just nineteen, she wrote her debut album Sprained Ankle, which became an indie cult record in 2015. After that breakthrough, she signed with Matador Records and has just released her second effort, Turn Out the Lights.

With her incredible talent for creating deep, gloomy atmospheres and folk melodies, Baker has once again crafted (in addition to writing and producing, she also plays nearly all the instruments on the album) a set of heartbreaking songs, coming from the darkest places of the mind. This time, though, there is a spark of hope casting light on the pain. “Think about a Raymond Carver short story or something,” Baker told Stereogum, continuing:

We like those stories because there is no happy ending. And sometimes, in life, there’s not one. And I hope that maybe including the provision of a happy ending—not a happy ending, but hope, hope is a good word—including the provision of hope… You know people that say, “Let go and let God,” unironically? I believe in God, but you’ve got to do stuff. You can’t just be entirely passive. Passivity is a tacit endorsement of evil we are too afraid to oppose actively. You can’t just always let go.

Watch two videos off Turn Out the Lights below!


Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →