Julien Baker has made cathartic, devastating music across two solo albums and one EP with supergroup boygenius, and now she’s back, on cue, right when we need some more catharsis. Baker released new song “Faith Healer” on October 21, the first single off her third album Little Oblivions. The project follows her delicately gorgeous 2017 album Turn Out the Lights and the boygenius EP from her collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Out February 26, 2021, Little Oblivions features her fullest sound yet, with Baker producing the album and playing most of the instruments — which now include drums, bass, and synthesizers, along with the usual guitar and piano. “Faith Healer” is the first taste of that sound (although her cover of blink-182’s “Anthem Pt. 2” for the Save Stereogum compilation may have been a hint), with grand flourishes of drums and a restrained but poignant explosion of a finale.
“Put most simply, 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,” Baker explained in a statement, adding that the song is over two years old. “There are so many channels and behaviors that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction. 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.” It’s not the first time Baker has been open about her experience with addiction and sobriety, which she told Rolling Stone played into the new album, along with finishing her degree at Middle Tennessee State University. 2021 really can’t come soon enough.