Premiere: The Haunting Warmth of Clara Baker’s “Middle of the Night”

Clara Baker © Amanda Long
Clara Baker’s airy folk song “Middle of the Night” is an evocative, haunting portrayal of nostalgia, grief, and the pain of loss. 

— —

Strong as I am, I could never compete with a memory…

You never forget those who came and went. Some linger in your frame of view for longer than others; the shadows of loved ones, ghosts from a past who were supposed to be here in the present. They never go away; when you close your eyes, they’re together with you. Clara Baker’s new single “Middle of the Night” is an evocative, haunting portrayal of nostalgia, grief, and the pain of loss.

Remember when you laughed
and kissed my belly? hmmm
Now the memory’s hanging on me heavy
Haunted by the way things used to be
Stream: “Middle of the Night” – Clara Baker

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Middle of the Night,” the sophomore single off Portland songwriter Clara Baker’s forthcoming album Things to Burn (out March 8, 2019). A song of remembrance, “Middle of the Night” employs ethereal, minimalist folk to capture the spaces in-between – both literally, and metaphorically. Silence can be some of the most evocative music, and with the support of an acoustic bass and sparse percussion, Baker makes the most of a stripped-down sound that accentuates not only her voice, but also its absence.

Things to Burn - Clara Baker

Things to Burn – Clara Baker

We also hear grief depicted out quite vividly through Baker’s intimate lyricism:

Will a distance always leave me pining?
I’m drawn love that doesn’t cling to me
I’ve loved and lost and there’s no silver lining
When you’re on this side of losing

“I wanted the arrangement to sound the way that it feels to have insomnia — to be awake / up in the middle of the night, thinking about way too much, thoughts and memories kind of all jumbling and swirling and weighing you down and haunting you and keeping you awake,” Baker tells Atwood Magazine. “I was thinking about the old adage, “tis better to have loved and loved than never to have loved at all” or however it goes, and just about how useless that saying is. It never ever feels that way when you have just lost love. So that’s what inspires a lot of this, including, “I’ve loved and lost and there’s no silver lining, when you’re on this side of losing.”

Clara Baker © Amanda Long

Clara Baker © Amanda Long

Baker continues: “I was thinking about how memories haunt us and keep us holding on… And how hard and unfair it is that no matter how strong you may be, time is the only thing that will let you move on. Strong as I am, I could never compete with a memory.”

As “Middle of The Night” progresses, the song strips itself of Baker’s folk roots and reemerges with a “folktronica” sound, incorporating lush, ethereal, and distant tones into an increasingly surreal soundscape that feels quite like a dream. This occurs over a repeating chorus, and as Baker hones in on the middle of the night, the chilling vulnerability of that time – and the threat of memories that might flood our distraction-free minds – manifests and grows to seem ever-present.

In the middle of the night – In a cold sweat
I’m still reaching for- you in my bed
In the middle of the night — I cannot close my eyes
In the middle of the night — In my cold house
I try to get to sleep — but I don’t know how
In the middle of the night
All I ever do

Clara Baker is not your average “folk singer/songwriter.” Come the end of Things to Burn, we may not be calling her a folk singer/songwriter at all. She manipulates sound and texture at will in “Middle of the Night,” immersing herself and listeners in a raw and fragile state so as to evoke a soul-stirring experience.

Stream “Middle of the Night” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

Stream: “Middle of the Night” – Clara Baker

— — — —

Things to Burn - Clara Baker

Connect to Clara Baker on
Facebook
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Amanda Long

:: Stream Clara Baker ::

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com