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PRE PLEASURE is a testament to Julia Jacklin’s growth

"PRE PLEASURE"

Release date: 26 August 2022
7/10
Julia jacklin pre pleasure art
22 August 2022, 00:00 Written by Bella Fleming
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Julia Jacklin’s third album PRE PLEASURE is the Australian singer’s most punchy album to date, despite her signature sorrowful lyrics still reigning strong.

Where the very aptly-titled previous album Crushing was an emotional blow by blow account of a long term relationship crumbling, PRE PLEASURE feels much more about Julia Jacklin as a multi-faceted person and songwriter. Upbeat album single “I Was Neon” is an accurate tease for this new side of Jacklin, as she looks back to her livelier younger self, hoping to not lose that side of herself as she continues to grow up. Similarly, “Ignore Tenderness” sees Jacklin candidly open up about her sexual and emotional pressures, singing “I’ve been trying to be turned on by you / be turned on by myself, or anything else.” Where this might have been a more emotive moment on a previous Julia Jacklin album, she instead marks it as a moment of female strength and self-love: “leave no room for doubt that you are brave”. This sophisticated lyricism draws parallels with the likes of Mitski, and it’s incredibly refreshing to hear Jacklin take this new approach to her songwriting.

Religion is a surprising thread woven throughout PRE PLEASURE. Sultry album opener “Lydia Wears A Cross” sees Jacklin questioning her religious upbringing, singing “Lydia wears a cross, said she’s never going to take it off”. With hints of cynicism it could be interpreted as a rejection of this way of life: “I’d be a believer if it was all just song and dance”. However, “Too In Love To Die” sees a change in the power dynamics at play as Jacklin pleads “I’m too in love to die / God couldn’t take me now” over a soft organ backing. The complete intimacy of the track wouldn’t be amiss on earlier albums, but feels a more poignant and delicate moment on PRE PLEASURE.

Although PRE PLEASURE is stylistically leaps and bounds from debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win the tenderness and vulnerability of earlier Julia Jacklin albums isn’t lost. On “Less Of A Stranger” Jacklin is brutally open about her fractured relationship with her mother, while album closer “End of A Friendship” is, unsurprisingly, about the end of a long term friendship and the surprising relief that follows.

It’s not hard to tumble into Jacklin’s silky vocals and vivid lyricism and overlook just how clever and masterful her songwriting is. PRE PLEASURE is truly a testament to Julia Jacklin’s ability to adapt and grow as a songwriter.

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