Up and coming Australian singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin has returned with her second album Crushing after releasing her first album Don’t Let the Kids Win back in 2016. Her new album has already gone on to chart in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia upon release last week. Additionally, her world tour has just commenced, and she will be on the road for the next six months, all around America, Europe and Australia.
Crushing is a compilation of pain and insecurity of her previous relationship, the intoxication of the illusion of love and romantic ideals within complicated twenty-first century love. Her music is moving, when at first her music may seem melancholic, her lyrical integrity has the ability to reach emotions which are unspoken for within the current music landscape, and which allow a voice for pain. Her album is an expression of true emotional turmoil.
The song “Body” captivates the listener, Julia’s use of indefinite lyrics allows for open interpretation, it opens an invitation to the listener, of compassion and connection with her, through her voice, creating a support and bond between artist and listener which is unique within music.
When you listen closely, you can even hear her breathing, reinforcing a closeness and vulnerability as if we are sharing the pain with her. Julia herself said “it was really important that you can hear everything, without any studio tricks getting in the way”. This is evident within this song as it shows an authentic side of musical artists and celebrities in times of fabrication and façade within the media.
“Convention” has a melody that represents a mundane path of life. How life is constructed of stereotypes and structures we are meant to follow. With subtle undertones of a rise against gender roles and masculinity, letting the male lead as she stands aside ‘handing him the microphone’ whilst incorporating the isolation and suppression caused by being in a toxic relationship with someone who doesn’t understand her individuality and desire for freedom.
Julia focuses on subverting the conventions of life, “can’t stand the pain from these shoes I’ve now outgrown” suggesting a breakthrough in her revelations. Emphasising she is breaking the mould of stereotypes and has come to understand how she has been repressed for a long time but only noticed from retrospective perspective, giving a potential warning to others who are blindly in love.
The structure of her song is interesting and subverts the conventions of songs, a non-repetitive chorus-verse-chorus structure again reinforces how she no longer wants to comply with demands from society and social normalities.
Throughout the emotional journey, Julia’s song “Pressure To Party” demonstrates the security of love, how everything is made easier when somebody is stood alongside you, avoiding the pain and isolation of loneliness. The demands of social pressures are diverted when there are two of you to converse between.
The obligation of societies standards is too restricting especially being a free spirit in the confines of a relationship. The struggle of a break up impacts her sense of security, and she is afraid to stray away and start again, losing her comfort zone, she craves for isolation.
Also conveying that isolation comes with separation after a long relationship, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. The pressures of modern-day love and relationships are undertones to this song and whilst juxtaposing to be the most upbeat song on the album.
Julia’s finale on the album is “Comfort“, a blissful farewell, symbolic of her coming to terms with moving on and appreciating the memories which will forever remain. For a listener this touching lyrical goodbye is moving. The elegancy and simple notion of the song expresses the truth of her life and the pain we’ve all shared of heartache. It allows for pure emotion and bliss to the ears and mind.
Her music truly touches the soul. In words of Julia Jacklin herself “you have to speak up for yourself and say what you really want” which demonstrates a true reflection of her understanding and wisdom passed on through this album. Julia Jacklin’s Crushing is out now via Transgressive Records/PIAS, purchase it on iTunes here, and stream it below.
Words by Abbie Hewer