Leading Up to the One Year Anniversary of Big Thief’s Latest Album, Here Are the Standouts


Maddie Burns

Most of the songs give off a folk vibe that also showcases the adventurous talent of the band through unique and quirky instrumentals and lyrics.

Maddie Burns, Editor

“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You.” What a title. In February of 2022, the indie band Big Thief released their fifth and most adventurous album yet, filled with 20 unique songs, each one different from the last. 

Compared to some of their previous albums such as “Masterpiece” (2016) and “Capacity” (2017), which were full of both indie rock songs and somber lullabies, “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” has such a different energy. Most of the songs give off a folk vibe that also showcases the adventurous talent of the band through unique and quirky instrumentals and lyrics. This contrasts their other songs, which instead tie back to their roots by sounding more like those somber lullabies that they’ve always included in their albums. 

The song that starts off the extensive album is titled “Change” and it has to be one of my favorites. Lead singer Adrianne Lenker’s voice paired with the steady and simple beat of the rest of the band is perfection on its own – but it’s the lyrics that stand out to me most.

As a senior, all I’m thinking about is change. As I prepare to leave the city I grew up in, the school I’ve attended for the past four years of my life, and the friendships I’ve made throughout the years, change is such a scary and overwhelming feeling that has been looming over me for the last few months.

What I love about this song is how bittersweet the lyrics are. Many of us go through times in our lives where we get the choice to make a change or change is forced upon us. Either way, change, more often than not, is bittersweet and I think that Big Thief successfully portrays that feeling through this opening song.

What I love about this album is how all over the place it is. For instance, following the melancholy song “Change” is an experimental and quirky song called “Time Escaping.” The juxtaposition of this song compared to the previous one demonstrates the band’s range, and also shows that they’re willing to take risks and adventure into new territory through their instrumentals and rhythms.

When I first heard their third song on the album titled “Spud Infinity,” I honestly didn’t like it. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was about the song that I didn’t like – maybe it was too out there for me at first – but not long ago, I gave the song another try and I fell in love with it. 

To be honest I don’t understand most of the lyrics, but the song’s sound is so addicting that it doesn’t bother me. Lencker’s folky voice, along with the choice of instruments such as the jaw harp mixed with the fiddle, creates a harmonious sound that may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. 

Skipping down to the end of the album, the band hits you with the song “Simulation Swarm.” I think the title of the song encompasses exactly how the song feels, especially when you get to the chorus where it seems like the music is swirling around you – whisking you away from reality.

My only critique about this album is that I wish the titular song “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” was the last song of the album, as I feel like it would make the experience more full circle and complete. 

That being said, this song is another stand out as it feels like it’s a reprise of Lenker’s song “Anything” from her 2020 solo release where she sings the line, “Dragon in the newborn mountain, didn’t you believe in me?” correlating with the title of the band’s new album. Lenker’s voice is very versatile, but in this song she uses the same tone that she uses in “Anything.” 

Listening to the songs back-to-back, it almost feels like she’s talking to her past self, the version who wrote the first song. Taking this part of her past and incorporating it into the new style of the band is truly beautiful and is just another example of Big Thief’s immense talent.