ALBUM REVIEW: Julia Jacklin’s ‘Crushing’ is Crushingly Beautiful

A cathartic breakup record for nihilists.

Julia Jacklin’s talent for portraying the human psyche soars to even greater heights in her sophomore release, Crushing. While unquestionably a break-up album, the Australian singer-songwriter finds herself in somber self-reflection, rather than a pool of tears. Post-breakup, Jacklin’s experiences flicker between frustrated indecision, numbing self-deprecation and sleepless contemplation, rendering each incredibly intimate song—as the album title suggests—emotionally overwhelming. ⠀

There are cinematic-levels of tension in how Crushing is both ordered and presented. Jacklin revels in her moments of fierce independence on “You Were Right,” yet almost succumbs to her capricious feelings on “Turn Me Down.” This perpetual tug-of-war throughout the album is mirrored perfectly by a diverse variety of lyrical structures, tempos and instrumentation. But it’s Jacklin’s vocals that are indisputably the star of Crushing, single-handedly uplifting the album’s dark folk-rock and slow ballads. ⠀

It’s difficult not to empathize with Crushing, with its endless abundance of heart-wrenching moments. By withholding nothing, Jacklin embraces and accepts her own shortcomings and imperfections, culminating in a record that is equal parts cathartic and nihilistic. There is healing here to an extent, but the intensely visible scars remain.⠀

Score: 💐💐💐💐/5 ⠀

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