The success of 2016’s debut album Don’t Let the Kids Win saw Julia Jacklin become a road warrior, racking up frequent flyer points and causing audiences all over the globe to swoon. It also meant her follow up album Crushing was written while on tour, having gained a literal world of experience with her relentless schedule. As such, this new release is wise, honest, and sophisticated.
In a recent chat with X-Press, Jacklin spoke of the new album, saying that she’s “less scared of [her] own feelings and [her] own voice” and that maturing as a lyricist meant she didn’t hide behind metaphors and poetry. Exposing her own vulnerabilities, she has a created an album that is easily relatable. Crushing runs the gamut of feelings one experiences in any seismic shift in life, but has largely been touted as a breakup album. It certainly seems to be a reflection on relationships.
Take for example the devastating Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You. “Don’t know how to keep loving you, now I know you so well, I just wanna keep loving you,” sings Jacklin, lamenting the loss of her loving feelings. It’s an emotional song, with an emotional delivery that strikes a chord with many of us. Good Guy is another example of Jacklin allowing herself to be exposed. “Tell me I’m the love of your life, just for a night, even if you don’t feel it… I don’t care for the truth when I’m lonely, I don’t care if you lie”. It comes across like a brutally honest commentary on the current climate of relationships where affection can be treated like a commodity.
“I just tried to make sure that I was saying how I felt in a pretty unadorned way,” said Jacklin, noting that when it came to mixing she also wanted the vocals minus too many embellishments. They are front and centre in the mix, with little reverb. She is baring herself both lyrically and musically, weaving between plugged in and acoustic, upbeat and melancholic, yearning and moving on.
Using intimate moments in her own life as inspiration, we are given permission to join Jacklin in her grieving process. She also addresses themes of body autonomy, particularly in tracks Head Alone and You Were Right. Then, by the album’s conclusion we reach the track Comfort which feels like coming out the other side of an intense time, albeit emotionally drained.
Crushing may be an excursion through someone else’s sorrow, but it’s not just for the brokenhearted. It will no doubt be the soundtrack to breakups, makeups, and periods of self-discovery. Another beautifully realised album from Jacklin, this will cement her place as one of the most talented musicians around.