It’s unfair to expect an artist to stick rigidly to the sound of their first album, no matter how beloved it may be. If the fans are loud and angry enough, it’s downright stifling, limiting the artist’s creative potential and telling them that they’re only accepted if they stay within one little pigeonhole. Even if they arguably should stick to one sound, it’s easy to sympathize with frustrated artists; Liz Phair could have easily made a bunch more albums like Exile in Guyville, but if her heart wasn’t in it, why make her?

Which is why I feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I say that I wish Julien Baker made more music like Sprained Ankle. In the seven years since her debut album, Baker’s released two albums, Turn Out the Lights and Little Oblivions, as well as forming the supergroup Boygenius with fellow indie luminaries Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. She expanded her sound from stark, lo-fi intimacy to a fuller, richer indie rock sound, and nothing she’s made has been anything less than solid. But Baker doesn’t need high fidelity or clarinet arrangements; all she needs is her guitar and her bracing cry of a voice, and you’ll feel like your heart is being throttled. It only makes sense, then, that I’d really like “Guthrie.”

“Guthrie,” a song Baker wrote and recorded during the Little Oblivions sessions, was already released as a bonus track in Japan, and ahead of an upcoming B-Sides EP she’s giving it the push it deserves. While Little Oblivions made a solid enough case for Julien Baker with a full band, “Guthrie” recalls the magic of Sprained Ankle within seconds. A rolling, dusty guitar pattern provides some comforting twang while Baker sets right to work, wounding the listener with her marvel of a voice. The closest analogue would be “Blacktop,” Sprained Ankle’s opening song and the world’s introduction to Baker’s talents: there’s the melancholy atmosphere, the intense intimacy of the lyrics, and the way Baker bends and fragments words for maximum emotional impact. (Compare the way she sings words like “mean” or “talking” on “Guthrie” with “Blacktop”’s “séance.”)

“Guthrie” is, of course, named after Woody Guthrie, American folk legend and a personal hero of Baker’s. But while Guthrie is most famous for his politically-charged material decrying capitalism and encouraging solidarity, Baker turns her gaze inward, and she sounds like the loneliest woman in the world. “I can be honest when I think it’s a dream,” she sings, about talking in her sleep, followed by “I can make promises sober I’ll never keep.” She sings to an unknown “you” who said that her behavior was scaring them, and as she sings it’s clear that it scares Baker, too. “Wanted so bad to be good, but there’s no such thing,” Baker sings at the end; from a singer who’s grappled with her own faith like she has, those words have real meaning, and “Guthrie” brings it out with its desolate beauty.