Manchester Orchestra and Julien Baker isn’t the most expected pairing in the world, but in light of their collaboration on a cover of Pedro The Lion’s “Bad Things To Such Good People,” I can confirm that it’s one of the best. They shared the song today, and it’s a goosebump-inducing rendition, as the atmospheric guitar, keyboards, Manchester Orchestra leader Andy Hull’s voice, and that of Baker all work together in perfect harmony for something greater than a sum of its wonderful parts.
The best part is that net proceeds from sales and streaming will go to 1 Million 4 Anna, a foundation named after Anna Basso, who was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, at 16 years old in 2009, and ultimately succumbed to it. The foundation means a lot to Hull, who has a deep history with it and its namesake:
“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 also spoke about his decision to cover the Pedro The Lion song, saying that it was an easy decision for him and Baker:
“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 also spoke about the recording, saying that working with Hull was a “surreal experience”:
“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.”
Listen to their cover of “Bad Things To Such Good People” above.