out of 13
Even with booming guitars, pounding drums and soaring instrumentals, Little Oblivions feels just as intimate as Baker’s more, well, intimate albums. It’s an impossible task to make a massive capital-R Rock album sound just as home in an arena as it would in a living room, but somehow, some way, Baker has managed to crack the code.
Ultimately, her recent period of artistic silence and personal trials results in Julien Baker’s most masterful work to date. The expanded sonic palette reimagines the possibilities of her music and makes for Baker’s most dynamic work yet. What’s more, none of the impact of her heart wrenching lyricism is lost in the transition.
Magnificent. … Although she played all the instruments on “Little Oblivions” herself, she built out most of its arrangements so they could be performed with a full band onstage. This choice brings a new, sweeping dynamism to Baker’s music, and keeps “Little Oblivions” from feeling sonically repetitive.
Everything on Little Oblivions will make you feel, and it’s the catharsis we all need. [Mar 2021, p.26]
An album of stunning emotional clarity that sees Baker’s words sent skyward with help from the beefy instrumentation of a full band.
What results is a fully realized artistic statement without a skippable track, even if a few songs trail off a bit toward the end — almost as if Baker knows the rush of cathartic energy has left everyone involved a little exhausted, including herself. And that’s just fine, because this is enough reality for a lifetime, let alone one record.
It can be vague on the details, but Baker’s songwriting is smart and serious enough to keep Little Oblivions from burning out entirely. [Apr 2021, p.86]