Today, singer/songwriter Julien Baker announced that she’d signed to storied indie-rock label Matador Records by releasing a new single, “Funeral Pyre.” The (very beautiful) song, which is about drinking gasoline, is typically slow-burning and conversational, bolstered by faint surges of electric guitar feedback. Baker has been playing the track live for most of the past year, and notably performed it at her NPR Tiny Desk concert in March.
Here’s what she said about the song in a new NPR interview:
“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.
“I feel like I would have put myself into an unfavorable or unhealthy position for this person and maybe recognizing from an outside perspective that that destructivism is a more healthy thing to do than to stay in it for the sort of, romantic, admirable belief that subjecting yourself to this kind of sacrificial, fatuous love would be more of the right thing to do.”
“Funeral Pyre” will be out on Matador, as part of a 7″ inch with an outtake from Baker’s 2015 debut album, “Distant Solar System,” on March 17. Listen to the song below.