Q&A: Baum Gets Personal on New Single "Bad Kid"

The alt-pop star's latest offering is her most vulnerable work yet.

Valentina Cytrynowicz

Since releasing her debut EP, Ungodly, in 2018, BAUM (aka Sabrina Teitelbaum) has found success in subverting our expectations.

You might already know the rising alt-pop star for her latest DGAF-minded single, "F*ckboy," a fun and flashy track that shined with defiant energy and a brightly colored music video to match. "F*ckboy" flipped the switch on our gendered perception of sexual deviance and positioned Baum as a force to be reckoned with.

This week, BAUM returns with a new single and music video for "Bad Kid." Her latest offering presents a softer and more vulnerable side than we've ever seen before, laying bare the struggles of navigating guilt, grief, and loneliness as she sings, "I didn't care when you still were around / Why did it take 'til you're six in the ground? / To say that I'm sorry for the things that went down."

A bit about the song from BAUM herself: "This song is about grieving, and regardless of how many people you have around you, you feel completely alone when you're going through that. We just wanted to capture that idea in a beautiful place. It was a slightly dangerous experience - the doors almost flew off our car at one point and then the car broke down on the side of a mountain at night - but it was the most amazing week of my life."

To match the song's theme, the Marcella-Cytrynowicz-directed video for "Bad Kid" was filmed on location in the otherworldly, remote landscape of Iceland. The icy, unforgiving backdrop of the tundra further drives home BAUM's feeling of alienation and despair.

Popdust had the opportunity to talk to BAUM about her new single and video, her creative process, and what we can expect next from the mind of Sabrina Teitelbaum.

Watch the video for "Bad Kid" and read our conversation below.

What was the process behind creating "Bad Kid"?

Very unexpected and very emotional. I had no intention of writing this song, so I was super caught off guard and kind of overwhelmed in the moment. It was a pretty quick process—we wrote it in a couple of hours, and the production was done within a couple weeks. I guess it was a heavy but cathartic process, overall.

The landscape for this video is pretty remarkable. How did you decide on a location, and how does the Icelandic terrain factor into the song's message?

Marcella had been there shooting a couple months prior, and she showed me the video she did. When you go up the coast a couple hours from Reykjavic, Iceland starts looking like another planet. It's freezing and quiet and beautiful, but, most importantly, very empty. We wanted to go somewhere that really captured the loneliness in the song.

Who did you work with on this video?

Marcella Cytrynowicz directed it, and Gus Bendinelli shot it. It was a VERY small group of us who went.

Do your new songs, "Bad Kid" and "F*ckboy," feel like a continuation of your debut EP, Ungodly, or an entirely new chapter?

Totally new chapter. This music feels so, so different to me. I wrote the first project when I was 18 and still in school, and I'm 22 now. Life has been absolutely wild in the last couple years, and it would've been impossible for me not to change dramatically. Not even change, just like grow up, I guess. I feel like a different person, so the music is definitely going to reflect that.

A lot of your songs subvert the typical narratives surrounding relationships and gender dynamics. What's been your experience exploring those ideas? What are some of the reactions you've gotten to your music?

Exploring those ideas through music has been a really great experience for me and has helped solidify my confidence. I think I've always rejected traditional ideas of gender and sexuality to a certain extent, but I hadn't really talked about it until I started writing about it. It's one thing to have your opinions and think about heavy topics, and it's another thing to publish your opinions to the world. It was definitely scary at first, but the reactions have been really positive, and I'm grateful for that.

How does the idea of loneliness factor into your music?

Oh, dude, that's the whole thing. I think that's the feeling everyone is always trying to escape. If I never dealt with loneliness, I don't think I would have anything to write about.

Who are some artists that you've always dreamed of playing with?

There are so many artists I've dreamed of playing shows with, and I'm a little embarrassed to answer that, but I will say I'm a big fan of a lot of new music coming out right now. The new Blood Orange record is amazing, Caroline Polachek's singles are on repeat, Daniel Caesar's album, etc.

What's next for Baum? What can we expect on your sophomore release?

This project is going to be very different from the last project. I'm experimenting a lot with song structure, so there will probably be a bunch of weird songs on there. I think I just trimmed a lot of the bullshit and don't really have space for stuff that isn't 100% true to me. I also want to play some shows soon, so hopefully that'll happen in the next six months or so.

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