What to Stream: Big Thief’s Capacity

Written by on October 27, 2022

I have to be honest, I only heard of Big Thief a few months ago. But after a few listens, I’m completely obsessed. If you don’t know who the indie band Big Thief is, 1) they’re my new favorite band, and 2) they make music that makes you ache. If you’re looking for the best album to stream this week, look no further. Released in June 2017, Capacity is the band’s second studio album.

Big Thief’s sophomore album is a heartfelt journey of pain and growth, heard through the haunting voice and storytelling lyrics of lead singer Adrianne Lenker. Throughout the album, she touches on personal memories of love and family. Her songwriting will draw you in, hold you captive, and form an almost personal bond. You feel her pain and her love as she invites you in.

Capacity Album Cover

Starting with the third song on the album, “Capacity” is intense. Heavy and distorted guitar chords pierce through as Lenker sings. The song swells before it suddenly bursts with emotion, finally reaching a peak of nostalgic guitar and crooning vocals.

Lenker sings directly to you about her heartbreak. It is intimate and passionate. Furthermore, the message of hanging on is sure to connect to any listener. No matter who you are, it will get you pumped. Because of the energy, this song deserves to be the titular track.

indie band Big Thief
Photo by Alexa Viscius

Then, we have “Haley”, the ninth song of the album. A heartbreaking yet hopeful song about past relationships, it almost seems like an invitation to return to the arms of past lovers. Heard throughout are Lenker’s beautiful guitar picking and poetic lyrics, and both are reminiscent of artsy folk music. Raw, intimate, and beautiful, the soul of both the album and Lenker herself are captured. Additionally, the song will get stuck in your head and–if you’re anything like me–make you cry. Therefore, I consider this song to be the best on the album. If anything, listen to this song.

Photo by Alexia Viscius

Finally, “Black Diamonds” is the 11th song of the album. Compared to the intensity and intimacy of the other songs, “Black Diamonds” soothes the listener. Rhythmic guitar and drums lift Lenker’s soft voice as she sings to her lover. She does not shout, but rather gently croons about black diamonds and love.

Because of the subtle shift in tone, it feels like she has accepted her pain. Like the end credits of a movie, or a goodbye note, it signifies the end of a long journey. This finale will make your heart ache. It finishes the album perfectly.

Photo by Dustin Condren

This time of year is a time for change and reflection. Capacity perfectly captures the feeling of longing for the past while remaining hopeful for the things to come. Everyone can relate to some parts of the album. Big Thief is a hidden indie-rock gem just waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for a new album to stream this week, check out Capacity.

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