album: Crushing - Julia Jacklin
words: Joel Parmer
Julia Jacklin’s sophomore release Crushing provides encouragement and relief for us all. The album perpetuates a wide range of reflective themes that highlight how autonomy can feel rewarding but still frightening. How the end of a partnership can allow for personal growth but may still seem sorrowful. Or how moving to a new place away from friends and family generates as much excitement as it does nervousness.
Crushing is a perfectly articulated follow up to Jacklin’s 2016 rock-country debut Don’t Let The Kids Win. The arrangements in the album give a nod to artists like Angel Olsen and Courtney Barnett, but only at surface level, as Jacklin’s narrative style carries out her unique take on the genre.
Four of the songs from Crushing are already visually connected with a set of superb music videos. They radiate soft color palettes and contain a nostalgic tone, like a collage of 35mm photos stitched together.
The album opener “Body” chronicles troubling memories centered around an ex getting the two kicked off a plane while it’s still on the tarmac. It’s a slow-paced representation of the moments in relationships where we exude a deep sigh of scrutiny onto ourselves.
“Head Alone” picks up with a faster tempo, although the lyrics are still solemn. The music feels more driven and much more of a folk-tinged pop rock song. “Pressure To Party” is even more upbeat, almost happier, yet the context of the words in the song are still a bit dejected. The video features Jacklin singing and playing drums while partying on an alternative timeline in the same setting.
From here Crushing is a rollercoaster of contrasting emotive cadences. Listeners will grasp a lot of the overarching ideas upon the first listen, but there’s much to be discovered within these ten songs.
Lastly, “Comfort” ties together the record as a wonderfully intimate concluding piece. Stripped down to just acoustic guitar and vocals, the song builds a series of verses, with no chorus and a tastefully simple bridge. The closer of Crushing provides just what the title suggests, as Jacklin’s lyrics bounce around different points of reassurance: “You'll be okay, you’ll be alright...He's gonna thrive, he'll be just fine...I'll be okay, I'll be alright. I'll get well soon. Sleep through the night”