Yay, it was worth the hype! Julia Jacklin makes honesty look easy. There is a memoir quality to her writing style I quite enjoy; the songs are reflective and self-aware. While I find some similarities to Angel Olsen and Adrianne Lenker in her vocals, Jacklin's nuanced imagery and heartbreaking melodies helped make this a gripping record throughout. This does not feel like wallowing in the past but learning and moving forward from experiences. There is an excellent blend of more raucous break-up songs and these beautifully intimate storytelling tracks. Crushing is a fantastic record that is refreshingly vulnerable without feeling heavy.
My favorite tracks are the small, intimate snapshots of weakness from Jacklin's past relationship. 'Good Guy,' is a total knockout for me. The lyrics hit hard and the melody feels timeless. She demands her lover to lie to her on a brutally honest song. It is this juxtaposition between a desire for a fantasy and the reality she experienced that I find so gripping. 'When the Family Flies In' is another standout track that feels intimate in sound but expansive in emotional weight. Jacklin does a great job at describing emotional moments rather than giving you the exact sentiment.
On the other side of the spectrum are tracks like, "Pressure to Party," which are more upbeat and have an almost Car Seat Headrest vibe to it. The chorus is the type you hear and want to sing along after the first moment of hearing it. 'You Were Right' is another faster track that has some of the best lyrics on the album. It opens with, "Started listening to your favourite band/ And I had to stop listening to you/ You were always trying to force my hand/ But now I'm listening because I want to." Jacklin is successful at depicting subtle shifts in her behavior that index greater emotional growth. Her self-awareness is terrific, and probably the biggest strength of the album for me.
I was eager to hear this album as I liked her voice and there was a lot of buzz surrounding this album by people I respect. My fear was how do you differentiate yourself from the ocean of similar artists. Julia Jacklin not only stands out but creates an exciting blueprint for future artists. A breakup is not one emotion; it is a continually shifting beast that affects everyone around you. Jacklin embraces this monster with deft self-awareness. Crushing feels cathartic but not reveling in sorrow. This one will be staying with me for a bit.