Julien Baker brings strong vocals to new single ‘Tokyo’

While it’s true that there isn’t much of a deficit of singer-songwriters making atmospheric indie pop, Julien Baker’s music rarely ever seems generic or unnecessary. As such, this new single sees her bringing another strong vocal performance along with her characteristically sparse guitar and melancholy tone.

Less characteristically, this is backed by a reverb-heavy blend of guitar, vocals, and piano which is somewhat reminiscent of Slowdive’s first album. The stuttering snare rolls, interjected throughout, however, dissipate any sense of lifelessness that this produces. However, the lyrics don’t really say anything significant and serves mostly to colour the mood with a sense of uneasiness.

The lack of chorus here makes the song feel like it’s travelling in a single direction, building up to some focal point. Where it does end up is perhaps not as exciting as it could be. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome break from the repetition that can saturate the form of this kind of music. Altogether, this song is arguably richer than a lot of Baker’s past work and indicates a positive direction for the future, even if it leaves something to be desired.

Image: Alena Schmick

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