Julien Baker delivers heartbreaking cover of Elliott Smith’s “Ballad of Big Nothing” — listen

From the forthcoming Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith album

Photo by Philip Cosores

On October 14th, American Laundromat records will pay homage to Elliott Smith with the release of a new cover album, Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith. The announcement of the release came with Juliana Hatfield’s take on “Need in the Hay”, and today Julien Baker’s contribution, “Ballad of Big Nothing”, has been revealed.

The Either/Or track has always had a heartbreaking strain, what with a closing lyric like “Do what you want to whenever you want to though it doesn’t mean a thing,” but Smith’s original had a poppy pep to it. For her version, Baker doubles down on the beautiful despair, singing sweetly as if curled up in a ball in the corner of her bedroom. Echoing guitar and pianos chords drip with dejection, but for all the sad adjectives, the cover is desperately gorgeous.

Take a listen below.

Other contributors to Say Yes! include J. MascisWaxahatchee, Lou Barlow, Juliana HatfieldYuck, and a collaboration with Jesu and Sun Kil Moon. Find the full tracklist below, and pre-order the album here.

Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith Tracklist (alphabetized by song):
01. Waxahatchee – “Angeles”
02. Julien Baker – “Ballad Of Big Nothing”
03. Tanya Donelly – “Between The Bars”
04. Yuck – “Bled White”
05. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon – “Condor Ave”
06. Lou Barlow – “Division Day”
07. Wild Sun – “Easy Way Out”
08. Tomo Nakayama – “Miss Misery”
09. Juliana Hatfield – “Needle In The Hay”
10. Caroline Says – “No Name #3”
11. Adam Franklin – “Oh Well, Okay”
12. Amanda Palmer – “Pictures Of Me”
13. William Fitzsimmons – “Say Yes”
14. Escondido – “Waltz #1”
15. J. Mascis – “Waltz #2”


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