Julien Baker has teamed up with Manchester Orchestra to deliver a devastating cover of Pedro The Lion’s “Bad Things To Such Good People.” Net proceeds from the cover’s sales and streaming will benefit 1 Million 4 Anna, a foundation dedicated to Anna Basso with the mission of eradicating Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
The cover came together in Manchester Orchestra’s studio outside Atlanta, Ga., with production from the band’s Andy Hull, his bandmate and co-writer Robert McDowell, and Baker.
Hull details the “Bad Things To Such Good People” cover’s origins as follows:
This song has held a deep weight with me since I was 16, and my awe of [David] 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 offers her own description of how the cover came together:
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.
And Hull explains his connection to 1 Million 4 Anna and the Basso family:
When the time came to release this cover, I thought it would be a good opportunity to raise money and gain attention for 1 Million 4 Anna, with which we have a deep connection and history. 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.
The indelibly bleak “Bad Things to Such Good People” is the penultimate track on Pedro the Lion’s 2000 sophomore album Winners Never Quit. Baker recently released a sad and stellar second album of her own, 2017’s Turn Out the Lights, while Manchester Orchestra released their acclaimed fifth album last summer, A Black Mile to the Surface. Both acts are currently on tour—find Manchester Orchestra’s slate here and Baker’s here.
As Baker, Hull and many more music fans were surely pleased to hear, Bazan announced in October that Pedro the Lion would reunite for the first time in over a decade. The band have a new album in the works, their first since 2004’s Achilles Heel, and are currently touring North America. Just last night, they played a show in Atlanta.
1 Million 4 Anna’s primary initiative is funding Ewing sarcoma research, but the organization also provides college scholarships to survivors and support to families with a family member receiving treatment for the disease. You can find out more about the foundation here.
Listen to Baker and Manchester Orchestra’s moving cover below, followed by Paste Cloud performances from both artists. Their cover is also available via Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play.