Julien Baker’s Solemn New Record Is Uplifting in a Strange Way

“Turn Out the Lights” is harrowing, yet hopeful.

Julien Baker

Turn Out the Lights

Matador

Harrowing and transfixing, Julien Baker’s second outing revisits the bleak emotional terrain of her debut, adding new dashes of musical color and glimmers of hope to take the edge off the pain. Shaded by tasteful piano, strings and occasional clarinet and sax, the solemn chamber-folk of Turn Out the Lights offers the perfect backdrop for her haunted voice, which tends toward calm resolve but can escalate to an anguished wail on short notice. Baker eloquently explores self-loathing and relationship hell with unflinching directness, exclaiming, “The harder I swim, the faster I sink,” in “Sour Breath,” and observing, “I know you were trying to help, but you’re only making it worse,” on “Shadowboxing,” while “Hurt Less” holds out a flickering promise of relief. Thanks to her rare gift for illuminating the soul’s dark places without sentimentality, this mesmerizing album ultimately feels cathartic, like hearing a great blues artist, and even a bit uplifting in a strange way.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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