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Julien Baker Drops ‘Heatwave’ Ahead of Album Release

Days before the release of her new album Little Oblivions, Julien Baker has dropped the single “Heatwave.”

The track opens with delicate guitar, as Baker sings about a car she witnessed that burst into flames. “It’s worse than death than life compressed/To fill a page in the Sunday paper,” she sings. “I had the shuddering thought/’This was gonna make me late for work.’”

“Maybe it’s a trite or well-trod topic, but ‘Heatwave’ is really just about being confronted with how much time I spend worrying about things that are trivial,” Baker said of the track. “I was stuck in traffic because a car had randomly combusted, and it made me feel so stupid for being concerned with the things I had been anxious about earlier that day. It was just such a poignant thing, an event that communicated a lot of complex things in a single image. So I wrote a song about it.”

“I know I’m not the first person to witness an atrocity and consider my own mortality or life’s fragility because of it, but that truly was my experience,” she added. “Theoretically the lesson or symbolism to be interpreted there is that life is precious and it’s not worth it to give your time and energy to negative thoughts, but Jesus, how could you be a person alive on Earth right now and not have negative thoughts? It’s certainly less romantic to say that the consideration of life’s fragility made me feel relieved at my own inconsequence, but it’s true; it is comforting to think of the minuscule role everyone plays in the human drama, to realize we have more choice about what we give power over us than we maybe thought.”

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“Heatwave” follows the singles “Hardline,” “Faith Healer,” and “Favor,” the latter of which features her Boygenius bandmates Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Little Oblivions arrives on Friday via Matador.

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