Photo: Matador Records

Julien Baker – “Appointments” (Singles Going Steady)

This is the sound of late summer loves and fresh fall fruit trees.

Adriane Pontecorvo: There’s melancholy for days in Julien Baker’s “Appointments”. Baker does an admirable job of walking the vocal line between breathy and solid and finds a sincere strength at the climactic end of the song. This track requires a certain mindset for optimal listening; it’s a downer of the kind that makes you change the station if you’re doing anything other than sitting woefully and nursing some fresh heartbreak. If that is where you’re at, though, Julien Baker has a damn good track just for you. [7/10]

Tristan Kneschke: Julien Baker’s new single shows her spreading out somewhat, adding piano and a bit of a chorus to her guitar-vocal tracks. While the young songwriter’s abilities are on par with her prior material, the music video is less successful. Dancers appear as spectral beings seen by no one, perhaps Baker’s imagination of the ghostly remains of her last relationship. The video’s finale finds her singing on the shore of a lake, dazzlingly captured at golden hour, but the scene is ultimately anticlimactic since it is devoid of any resolution or deeper significance. [4/10]

Ian Rushbury: You’re 17. You’ve split up with your boyfriend. It’s three a.m. “Appointments” starts playing on your listening device of choice. You will have a Significant Life Moment. That said, it’s a pretty tune that’s loaded with angst and words like “emptiness”, and she delivers the song really well. If you’ve ever thought “no one has ever felt the way I’m feeling right now”, this is for you. [6/10]

Steve Horowitz: Feelings, nothing more than feelings… ugh! Do we have to indulge in yet another self-absorbed singer-songwriter looking backward? There’s nothing new here. Feeling empty is a bummer. Maybe the future will be better. Maybe not. I have to believe that there is an end to music like this. [3/10]

William Nesbitt: In this quiet, subtle track Baker sings about a relationship that just won’t work though she hopes that it will. She waits until the final 30 seconds of the track to really let loose and open up her voice. Good buildup but does the restraint best serve the song? This is the sound of late summer loves and fresh fall fruit trees. [7/10]

John Garratt: You know those singers who have too many lyrics for their “melody”? Yeah, I blame the latter-day Michael Stipe. The song goes nowhere, and the video makes no sense. But never mind, she’s on Matador! And so sad! [3/10]

SCORE: 5.00

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