In a black box performance space lit up by a handful of spotlights, Baker led the anthemic number that deals with her usual themes of depression, substance abuse, and self-forgiveness. “I always told you you could leave at any time/Until then, I’ll split the difference/Between medicine and poison/Take what I can get away with/While it burns right through my stomach,” she sang. Towards the end, the song built up into a U2-like swirl of guitars, drums, and stadium-sized synths.
Baker released Little Oblivions last Friday via Matador, following 2017’s Turn Out the Lights. Along with “Hardline,” her third studio album includes the singles “Heatwave,” “Faith Healer,” and “Favor,” the latter of which features her Boygenius bandmates Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Baker spoke about how the album radically changed the way she examined and viewed herself.
“It’s so hard to be wrong about something you were so sure was right,” she said. “I feel like Turn Out the Lights, the whole premise of so many of the songs were the two parts of the self facing each other, the antagonistic part and the good, triumphant, idealistic part. It’s been a process of understanding those are the same person, and instead of overcoming and defeating and subduing this negative part, trying to mercifully assimilate that into your understanding of yourself.”