Julia Jacklin's "Crushing", is without a doubt, the first great release of the year. Its the first album, in a long time, to completely disrupt my routine of new music excavating by being pretty well the only thing I've played since it's release two weeks ago. I have been so captivated by this heart, soul and mind consuming album that nothing else seems to resonate the same way. Thank you Ms. Jacklin.
It's got it all guys; captivating, dreamy n’ melancholic guitar tones - Wispy, ernest n’ heart wrenching vocal performance and, gosh darn it, words so unfiltered from a bleeding and broken heart, that it’s impossible to leave not feeling what the artist has put into the work. Not to mention, what they have been through. This album is up there with the greats, Joni Mitchell’s Blue and SZA’s CNTRL in terms of pure, undiluted, lyricism, real life accounts and real life broken hearts, as we, as listeners, feel every broken piece of hers.
And what’s more, this is one of those rare glimpses in art, we get, from the side of the person who decided to leave, alas, the long ignored perspective of the evil "one who had done the breaking". We as listeners are shocked to find just how painful it is to be that person! Aside from much of Dylan’s skeptical and sarcastic expressions, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot of music that depicts what it’s like, and how much it hurts, to have to be the bad guy. Jacklin captures this, to a T.
Amidst all the sads dripping from this album, there is this powerful image of reclaiming one’s self. After severing the ties, part two of the pair, Jacklin is finally taking her prowess elsewhere and finally feeling like her own person again. We hear this idea, woven in and out of every song on the album, for example, the opening track Body.
"Watch me Turn my own Head.
Eyes on the driver, Hands in my lap, heading to the city
to get my body back..."
And again, notably with Pressure to Party.
"Pressure to feel fine, after the fact
Out on the dance floor, with my body back"
How very topical in this year/years of women(? 2018-2019?) to openly embrace what it means to take back yourself, find what you like, and only accept what's good for you and not just what you are hand fed.
And, yes, there is an excitement to reclaiming oneself, to being that independent person, but, In this song, Pressure to Party , in the same breath, Jacklin expresses the anxiety of being new to a world that is new to her in return. The hungry and terrifying world of modern dating. This is where I get those SZA vibes, these very situational lyrics that act as a refreshing and accurate perspective of dating and what it means to be a woman in the obnoxious twenty-teens. All of which, kinda sucks. Words, so direct, and relevant it feels more like your best friend having a conversation with you, rather than a babe-ly rockstar bellowing these words at you with her impeccable voice.
And of course, Jacklin has such a way with her words... Not only does she use metaphors is so rich (as I previously exampled in the last paragraph with the Body), but she know just how to get all of her feelings out - streamline - straight from her brain to the song, just by using her words! The depths of her pain comes spewing out of her in Don’t know how to keep loving you wherein we feel her plea for things to be different.
"I want your mother to stay friends with mine
I want this feeling to pass in time..."
This song, you can remove the 'modern' title I so stigmatized in the last chunk of this review, and compare it to all classics as her vulnerability is so timeless, it's liken to the previously referenced music of (our patron saint) Joni Mitchell.
If you haven’t already given this album a spin, I suggest you give yourself the 39 minutes to sit and enjoy (maybe give yourself an additional 5, just to sit and fully digest it as it is a heartbreaker and unless you're in-human, you're bound to feel many things.)