Appointments is the first taste of the follow-up Julien Baker’s 2015 debut record Sprained Ankle and does not disappoint. Containing the same elements of what has come to be known as a Julien Baker song – emotional songwriting carried over with lilting, layered vocals wrapped in a captivated light, folk ballad, it’s a track that wears the heart out.
It starts out simple and stripped back, with piano, keys and gently fingerpicked guitar chords slowly fading in and setting the emotional layer and tone of the track. With Baker’s contemplative vocals gradually adding to the soundscape the song acquiesces, the right combination of audible elements acts as an anchor that keeps the listener locked into emotionally charged release at the end.
There is an idiom felt with a lot of Baker’s music, and Appointment is no exception. The idea that less is more holds true to this track. Where the thought of instrumental minimalism can denote a sense of boredom for some listeners, Baker utilises this approach to accentuate the emotion felt in lyrics and emotional discharge at the end, as any ballad should.
Coupled with a lyrical, almost confessional honesty, it’s simply too hard to not get drawn into the sombre, cathartic qualities of Appointments.