Julien Baker and Manchester Orchestra Team Up to Cover Pedro the Lion for Charity

Their Cover of "Bad Things to Such Good People" to Benefit Charity 1 Million 4 Anna

Feb 23, 2018
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Singer/songwriter Julien Baker released her new album, Turn Out the Lights, back in October via Matador, her first for the label. It was our Album of the Week and more importantly it was #2 on our Top 100 Albums of 2017 list. Now she has teamed up with Manchester Orchestra to cover Pedro the Lion's "Bad Things to Such Good People" (from Winners Never Quit, a 2000-released album by Pedro the Lion, aka David Bazan). The digital single is out now via Loma Vista and net proceeds will be donated to the charity 1 Million 4 Anna, which a press release describes as "a Foundation dedicated to Anna Basso with the mission to eradicate Ewing sarcoma. The Foundation's main initiative is to fund promising Ewing sarcoma research, and also provides college scholarships for survivors as well as support to families with a family member receiving treatment."

Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull had this to say about 1 Million 4 Anna in a press release: "When the time came to release this cover, I thought it would be a good opportunity to raise money and gain attention for 1 Million 4 Anna, with which we have a deep connection and history. I had the privilege of meeting the Basso family some eight years ago through their daughter Anna, who was battling Ewing sarcoma. One of her goals before she graduated high school was to come and see a Manchester show, and when we met, we were overwhelmed at her outlook and positivity in life. Unfortunately, Anna passed away not longer after. Getting to know her family has pushed our band to help fight this disease that's affecting young people all over the world."

Hull had this to say about recording the cover: "This song has held a deep weight with me since I was 16, and my awe of Bazan's songwriting has never died down. It does what so few others can accomplish by painting a detailed and powerful world with minimal words, and allowing the listener to do the rest of the work. And working with Julien was an incredible experience...After meeting digitally and discussing how we could collaborate, we knew we had to do a Pedro song, and it suddenly clicked when she suggested this one. We met in person for the first time about 30 minutes before we started sketching out our re-creation. It didn't take me but about five minutes to realize just how deeply talented and layered Julien is. I've called her 'the truth' ever since our first sessions and look forward to working with her as much as we can in the future."

Baker had this to say: "When Andy and I started talking about which Pedro the Lion cover to do, we knew we wanted to do one that was unexpected, something that would be challenging and interesting. I threw out the idea of 'Bad Things to Such Good People' because that song, as minimal and unassuming as it is, has always had some of the most dramatic and powerful lyrics to me. I think experimenting with the instrumentation and delivery, letting the performance of the song evolve and reveal new parts of itself made me appreciate Bazan's incredible poetic talent in an even deeper way. It also made me so excited that I got to work with someone as creative and perceptive as Andy. It was truly a surreal experience to be able to collaborate with a songwriter whose music has informed so much of my own songwriting sensibility, especially in the context of creating a cover of an artist that's been so influential to us both."

Read our recent 2017 Artist Survey interview with Baker.

Read our 2017 cover story interview with Baker.

Also read our 2017 cover story bonus Q&A with Baker.

Read our rave 9/10 review of Turn Out the Lights.

Read our 2016 interview with Baker and our 2015 Artist Survey interview with her.

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