As one of the foremost singer-songwriters of the moment, every new release from Julien Baker should be met with excitement. But now, with ‘Faith Healer’, Baker has kicked up the hype as she shares the single as the first from a brand new album. The new album Little Oblivions will be released on February 26th.
It may feel like it’s a little far away but, for now, we have the brilliant new single to keep us happy. ‘Faith Healer’ is yet another reminder of Baker’s growing songwriting talent and her ability to somehow always sound 100% authentic. However, on this one, Baker has shifted the sonic spectrum to a brand new sound, it’s a hint that the new record will follow suit.
There’s something unavoidably kaleidoscopic on ‘Faith Healer’ in comparison to Julien Baker’s previous solo work and her time with the ultimate indie supergroup with Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers, Boygenius. Previously, Baker has survived on using stripped-back tracks to showcase raw and emotional moments but this song changes it up with some brand new backdrops.
Julien says of the song: “I think that ‘Faith Healer’ is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience. I started writing this song 2 years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction.” It’s a bold subject matter and one that could go a few different ways. But Baker naturally lays the subject bare and dissects it.
“For a while, I only had the first verse,” continues the singer, “which is just a really candid confrontation of the cognitive dissonance a person who struggles with substance abuse can feel—the overwhelming evidence that this substance is harming you, and the counterintuitive but very real craving for the relief it provides.” But Baker returned to the song to flesh it out, “When I revisited the song I started thinking about the parallels between the escapism of substance abuse and the other various means of escapism that had occupied a similar, if less easily identifiable, space in my psyche.
“There are so many channels and behaviours that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction,” Baker astutely notes, “I (and so many other people) are willing to believe whomever—a political pundit, a preacher, a drug dealer, an energy healer—when they promise healing, and how that willingness, however genuine, might actually impede healing.”
As well as having some serious core beliefs running through the song, and a few glitchy moments in the background, it is also a sweet piece of indie-pop that is hard to turn down. Complimented by Baker’s unique and utterly beguiling vocal performance, it’s a sign of things to come.
Arriving complete with a captivating video that denotes all of the above, this release may well act as proof in future years as the moment Baker made a name for herself.