In 2018, Julia Jacklin released Crushing, a work that was as disarmingly vulnerable and pithy as a childhood friend sharing a new secret, contending with heartache playfully and cathartically in equal measure. Today, the Australian musician announced the follow-up album titled Pre Pleasure with the single "Lydia Wears a Cross" and a self-directed video.
On the new track, Jacklin carefully lays out a scene's rough sketch through first-person narration before filling in the lines with existential depth. "Seated in rows / Knees and eyes closed / I felt pretty," she sings at the song's beginning. "In the shoes and the dress / Confused by the rest / Could he hear me?" Another character fills in the scene with color. "Lydia wears a cross / Says she’s never gonna take it off," her voice speeds up, harnessing an innocent resolve. "We sit back to back / Listening to Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack." Soon, a classroom or a church reveals itself. Children in rows, learning about some higher power at a young age.
"I’d be a believer if it was all just song and dance," she sings during the chorus. "I’d be a believer if i thought we had a chance." Jacklin is accompanied by a stark drum machine and deep piano notes, which add drama to the playful, modest rhythm. In less than a minute, we've gotten a unique perspective, bright characters, and existential conflict inspired by a religious rock opera. That's the genius of Julia Jacklin.
"The song is about a lot of things, but mainly being a seven-year-old Jesus Christ Superstar fanatic attending Catholic school trying to figure out which way is up," she said about the single. "The music video was filmed by my constant collaborator and friend Nick Mckk at Split Point Lighthouse. I played a show close by recently and asked on stage if anyone could let me film inside. Someone in the crowd knew a guy and that was it. The rest was filmed in the streets of Northcote, Melbourne.”
Watch the video for "Lydia Wears a Cross" below, and pre-order Pre Pleasure here.