This past week, Julia Jacklin released Crushing, her second album, and with it, comes a set of songs full of honesty and humor. In a field where guitar-driven singer-songwriters seem to be a dime a dozen, Jacklin still finds a way to stand out and sound completely like herself.
For being a full-blown breakup record, of which Jacklin intended, Crushing feels a lot more downtrodden and melancholy than what most would expect. In a recent interview, Jacklin explained this exact feeling, “if you ended the relationship then you don’t get much sympathy or understanding because people just assume that you made the decision so you must be happy.”
From the opening lines of “Body” to the final moments of “Comfort,” Jacklin paints a picture of the stages of a failing relationship. From the first signs of trouble to the breakup and the recovery process, Jacklin lets the audience tag along and experience the emotional journey.
“Head Alone” finds Jacklin squirming out of a patriarchal grasp, with arms wide open exclaiming, “I don’t want to be touched all the time / I raised my body up to be mine.” A possible literal message towards her former lover and a more broad note that points a finger at the oppressive and assuming male-run career field that Jacklin finds herself in.
Following along in the timeline of her breakup, “Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You” finds Jacklin at her breaking point. As a tender cry for help, the Australian singer-songwriter expresses the fact that she wants this relationship to work, but that she now knows it’s not going to. A lazy, mournful guitar and Jacklin’s quivering vocals help portray this moment as hopeless as the lines “Don’t know how to keep loving you / Now that I know you so well” repeat.
The final song on the record, “Comfort,” fittingly delves into the ‘moving on’ process. The track features seeming words of encouragement to Jacklin from those around her. “You’ll be okay / You’ll be alright / You’ll get well soon … He’s gonna thrive / He’ll be just fine / Hurt for a while / Cured with time.” Yet with these reassurances, there is a sense that this is not what needs to be said at that time, that people are just going through the motions by saying these things because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Jacklin does a great job at portraying these lines as doing more harm than good and presenting the idea that, for a time, it’s okay to be sad.
With an incredible sense of being that is depicted through her songwriting, Julia Jacklin is poised to have a breakout year and find herself on every ‘end of the year’ list. Taking listeners with her through all of the emotions that come with a breakup, Jacklin presents a deeply human and personal piece of work with Crushing.