Julien Baker makes some of the saddest music out there, and yet there is something so magical and cathartic about it. (No wonder she’s close friends with Phoebe Bridgers.) Little Oblivions is unique because it is Baker’s most sonically ambitious album yet, transforming her once minimalistic sound into crescendos of strings, synths, drums, and bass. Still, the album shares the same sense of emotionally effusive lyrical depth that made her breakout album, Turn Out the Lights, such a marvelous work. And the best is yet to come. She is only 25 years old. Her songwriting abilities are off the charts. And she is extremely intelligent. If you listen to her interviews, you’ll see how she can effortlessly discuss anything from metaphysical poetry to anarcho-syndicalism. More importantly, she has helped many people get through some of the same challenges she’s faced. She has grappled with mental health, abuse, addiction, being a gay Christian socialist, etc. She is a unique human who poured her soul into this. The combination of her raw vocals, her vulnerable lyrics, and her neat sound is lethal. My favorite song is “Hardline,” but it’s a seamless LP from start to end. Just don’t listen to Little Oblivions when you feel like being happy and not in a state of existential despair.

Rating: 8/10