Turn Out the Lights

Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2017 Ratings: #57 / 887
Year End Rank: #22
User Score
Based on 430 ratings
2017 Ratings: #89
Liked by 8 people
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A.V. Club

Whether hopeful or wallowing, Turn Out The Lights is beautifully crafted throughout, full of the kinds of songs that linger long after they’ve ended.

No Ripcord

Turn Out the Lights is an immense record that runs a gamut of emotions, from distress to love, anguish to healing. These are songs that you feel more than listen to. Everyone has encountered some sort of mental illness, addiction or crisis of faith, whether in your life or another’s. Not only does Baker prove that you’re not alone, but she finds a way to make it better.

‘Turn Out the Lights’ is above all driven by a sorrowful defiance in the face of life’s hardships, and in Julien Baker’s earnest delivery and parse songwriting these feelings have found a unique vessel. Still only 21 years old, Baker has crafted an album that flickers in the dark, but her own star is burning brighter than ever.
Consequence of Sound

Turn Out the Lights is a rich, moving work that creates a communion of sorts, an acknowledgement that the little victories are worth embracing even if salvation seems utterly out of reach.


Baker is careful not to glorify life's darkest moments, and certainly doesn't on Turn Out the Lights. Rather, her candid portrayal of pain is a rare and beautiful gift.

Under The Radar

Turn Out the Lights will find relevancy as long as there are people with ears and feelings. It prioritizes and gives weight to our everyday struggles with our own mortality, confidence, and self-worth. Baker is writing faultless songs that will always have a home in our hearts because finding comfort in even the saddest moments means we're still feeling.

Alternative Press

Before, it was easy to see Baker’s vulnerability as childlike, but Turn Out The Lights proves she’s had enough pain to last several lifetimes. There’s an elegance to her music that wasn’t there before—a sudden bright piano riff over deep guitar; a harrowing, shouted acapella—that feels like a coming of age.

American Songwriter

Two years later, Baker is back with Turn Out The Lights, which gently expands the sonic boundaries of her haunting folk ballads. On her second album, the Memphis singer firmly establishes herself as America’s high priestess of pain, a young songwriter who, like Joni Mitchell and Elliott Smith before her, interrogates human emotion with nuanced complexity and devastating self-awareness.

The 405

Julien Baker takes a vitally human approach to a range of weighty topics on her striking second album Turn Out The Lights.

Around every corner, Baker practices restraint where she could’ve gone for a bigger moment. The effect is an album that’s powerful but not overwrought.
The second album from Tennessee songwriter Julien Baker wrestles with self-worth, rejection, and God. Centering on her voice, guitar, and piano, Baker begins to sound defiant.
Pretty Much Amazing

Turn Out the Lights is an exciting sophomore effort from an even more exciting artist. While the album isn’t a tremendous leap forward from Sprained Ankle, Baker emerges with her vision and voice more fully formed.

The Line of Best Fit

Baker’s lyrics have always been at the heart of proceedings, and this album is no different: it’s still confessional, honest and intensely personal in the same way Sprained Ankle was.

Drowned in Sound

Turn Out the Lights is far from a happy album, but my word, it is riddled with joy.

The intimacy that enchanted us in the first album is partially gone, and with it disappears some of the painfully memorable riffs and ostinatos of ‘Sprained Ankle’. But instead of unapologetically breaking our hearts again and again, ‘Turn Out The Lights’ begins to heal them. If listeners give this new album some time, its beauty will enchant them just as much as her debut.
Northern Transmissions

Turn Out the Lights feels like the second date, with Baker more comfortable filling in blanks about her life and struggles that seemed to soon to share on her debut.


Though sometimes it teeters on hammy sentimentality, the bulk of Turn Out the Lights portrays an artist who could move towards serious commercial viability. But the sadness that she communicates is her truthful testimony, and it’ll serve as a cathartic vessel to many for years to come.

For those who are receptive, the songwriter's ferocious authenticity connects in spite of, rather than in concert with, the more dramatic accompaniment here.
Stretched over the course of a complete album, such little deviation from the well-worn song-structures can make for overly simplistic and almost tiresome listening. Which isn’t to detract from the carefully curated lyrics of ‘Turn Out The Lights’, a record bursting with artistic emotion and vulnerable resilience.
The Needle Drop
Julien Baker's new crop of songs explores the depths of depression with a slow, burning passion.
The Skinny
The record becomes claustrophobic in its emotional and melodic range. Baker doesn’t shy away from the weight of depression, but depending on your emotional state, the album is either cathartic or overbearing, like fluorescent lights to tired eyes.
Loud and Quiet
There are moments when Julien Baker’s second album sounds like an externalisation of the negative voice in your head.
The Guardian
This first effort for a larger label has a hymnal atmosphere, in which the turbulence shows in her words.
she is like an angel, her voice her music, that dreamy vibs she write, i always love anything comes out from her, she makes you calm and relaxed, then she takes out a great passion in the end of every song, the whole album is amazing with a lot of stand out tracks all over it, i will always return for this record for a long of time.
my top 3 songs are:
1- Hurt Less
2- Turn Out the Lights
3- Appointments
Julien "Queen of Diverse Songwriting" Baker

obviously jk... Julien wrote the same song 10 times, did pretty much nothing interesting with the production, and laid on the cliche heavy-handed metaphors thick. tbh I don't really get why anyone is looking twice unless her background and personal details are really so compelling that writers can't resist lauding the album just for a chance to sell her story. if you want a female singer songwriter who's actually saying something ... read more
Moonshaped pool era radiohead be like.
When I wrote my review of Julien Baker’s first album, “Sprained Ankle,” I said I couldn’t wait for her to explore more instrumentation and larger sounds. Not because I knew what was on her next albums, but because you could hear her desperate to want to go bigger and bolder on her debut.

“Turn Out the Lights” shows this to be true almost immediately, with the track “Appointments,” a song that swells and sounds grandiose by comparison to her ... read more
Sprained Ankle’s intimacy and gentle heartbreak still leaves me gasping for air by its end and Turn Out The Lights does not throw any fewer punches as it explores themes of depression, isolation, and suicide. The production is cleaner this time around and the music is more expansive and "twinkly" as opposed to Sprained Ankle’s muted cry. Because of this progression, there is a glimmer of hope behind the record’s eyes in that no matter what we see in ourselves and how ... read more
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Added on: August 17, 2017