It was the summer of 2019 when I discovered Julia Jacklin’s music. “Turn Me Down”, from her 2019 album Crushing, hit me in a personal, “I relate to this” kind of way. I featured the song in a Top 5 Music Obsessions post, at the start of June, 2019. Earlier that same year, in April, I added “Head On” to a playlist called She calls me April’s fool as I fall into May’s embrace, and “When the Family Flies In” to a playlist called Sugar and shake (tie optional). My Julia love has grown from there, and hasn’t stopped. As the year comes to a close, and I find myself – like everyone else online/in print – compiling my “best of” lists. Julia Jacklin’s song “Lydia Wears A Cross” is definitely on my best of songs from 2022. It has quickly made it to my Top 5 favorite Julia Jacklin songs list, as well.
“Lydia Wears A Cross” by Julia Jacklin
Song of the Day
“Lydia Wears A Cross” by Julia Jacklin – from the album, Pre Pleasure (2022)
“I’d be a believer,
if it was all just song and dance.
I’d be a believer,
if I thought we had a chance.”
This song hits a wallop with me and my journey from being a child and adolescent in parochial schools and church groups, to a disillusioned late teen/early twenty-something who loved Tori’s take on religion, especially in the sentiment of god not coming through. All the trauma I’d survived, and the reactions from the church, and from “people of god”, a lot of it re-traumatized me. I went through my thirties trying to find my way to some kind of believing. Joining a Unitarian church in Michigan, meditating and reading up on Buddhism, even daring a Christmas Eve going back to a Lutheran church for a midnight sermon.
The thing is, I may like some of the rituals, the singing, the community it somewhat resembles, but there is too much poison to it all for me. I’d be a believer, if it was just the music and celebrating. I’d be a believer if I actually believed, and hadn’t seen the things I’ve seen, felt the things I’ve felt, and seen so many people I love hurt by so-called people of god.
Julia Jacklin is a singer-songwriter from the Blue Mountains, Australia. She’s released three studio albums as a solo artist, and also performed with the band Phantasmic Ferniture. (from Wikipedia)
Julia spoke to The Guardian about her latest album, Pre Pleasure, saying the following:
“I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of energy in my life trying to be cool. Over the last couple of years [I’ve been] reconnecting with music that I enjoyed before I was heavily influenced by what I felt I was supposed to like. I think that’s a journey everyone goes through; you like all these things when you’re younger, and it’s so uncomplicated, and then it becomes really complicated for like 15 years, you define yourself, at least I did, by your music taste. I am my music taste, I don’t exist except for the things that are on my iPod.’”
“Lydia Wears a Cross” is like driving rain, slapping you in the face, reminding you that you are both awake and alive. Julia Jacklin sings about religion and what it’s like to be a girl, sitting in the pews, whispering holy words without knowing what any of it means. She prays for Princess Diana; she listens to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. “I’d be a believer,” she sings, “If it was all just song and dance.” Around her, a fuzzed-out guitar crashes into a kick drum. It’s a look back at childhood, where real sorrow and brutal honesty outweigh nostalgia. – Sophie Kemp, Pitchfork – The 100 Best Songs of 2022 (# 94)
Julia Jacklin – photo by Nick Mckk
I love the video to “Lydia Wears A Cross.” Julia reminds me of a mix of Pippi Longstocking and Tori Amos set to work, and live, in a lighthouse. Something about the colors of her clothing, the atmosphere around her, and her make-up reminds me of a children’s book’s illustrations. I’m so here for all of it.
If you’d like to hear more from Julia’s album Pre Pleasure, and her other two studio albums, sing and dance your way to believing HERE.