Having just concluded her world tour right here in Australia, Memphis born songwriter Julien Baker has just signed with Matador records for a re-release of her debut album Sprained Ankle as well as a new 7-inch featuring the single, “Funeral Pyre”.
Credit Jake Cunningham
According to Baker, “Funeral Pyre” depicts the polarizing position of having to watch someone you love partake in self destructive behavior. Centered around her intricate guitar playing, Baker navigates gracefully from one subtle climax to the next; no easy feat considering the emotional turbulance waiting around each corner of the song’s spiny structure. Highlighted by faint hints of guitar noise and sweeping synth, the arrangement almost mirrors the winding thought processes we experience when faced with a problem that has no straightforward solutions. “Funeral Pyre” is performed with a heartfelt honesty and a quiet courage, but in no way does it mask the harshness of the reality it portrays.
In an interview with NPR, Julien Baker had this to say about the song:
“Obviously, drinking gasoline incurs bodily harm on you, but also, being an accessory to that kind of behavior and having to decide — it incurs harm upon you, too. And then, are you responsible for permitting that? If you stay, are you responsible for permitting it? And if you leave, are you responsible for not intervening? If you intervene, are you out of your bounds? Everything about the song is figuring out how you should act in your level of responsibility for your own health and to others in the dynamic of a relationship, which is a difficult lesson to learn.”