Everything for Julia Jacklin was changed by a shoddy old Casio keyboard


“Too In Love to Die” is a song on Julia Jacklin’s delightfully odd new album Pre Pleasure. That is really literal. A aircraft accident and a walk onto the highway are mentioned by the enamored narrator, who then claims that none of these tragedies could ever happen to her since, well, she’s in love.

In interviews, Jacklin has claimed that she didn’t plan for the song to be so depressing and that she actually tried to write a beautiful, upbeat love song before coming up with this tragedy ballad. Jacklin laughed and said to Stereogum, “I felt that was the only way I could write about love in a nice way.

It is a fantastic representation of what makes Australian singer-songwriter Jacklin, age 31, intoxicating, distinctive and unique. She makes little movements together with overwhelming moods.

Before Pre Pleasure, her third album, Jacklin had always written her songs on guitar. But Pre Pleasure may not have existed if she hadn’t put down the axe and picked up a keyboard. After touring behind 2019’s Crushing for two pandemic-interrupted years, Jacklin says, “I was so sick of guitar. I’m not a super technical guitarist. You get stuck in the same chord patterns and strumming rhythms. It felt like the only way that I could write new songs was by changing it up.”

She got her first keyboard from the musician Steve Moore, who’s played with drone-metal legends Sunn O))) and composed horror movie scores. “I never owned something like that,” Jacklin says. “Maybe because when I was young and a bit insecure I thought, ‘Oh, a guitar is a serious instrument, and a Casio keyboard with a really shitty drum machine sound is not what a professional musician should be writing on.’ But that gift from someone who’s been a musician forever—who’s literally played it on stage with Sufjan Stevens—it was like, ‘OK, well, if it’s good enough for you, obviously it’s good enough for me.”

The opening track and lead single from Pre Pleasure, “Lydia Wears a Cross,” kicks off with one of those “shitty” drum machine sounds. As Jacklin chants the catchy title phrase—“Lydia wears a cross / says she’s never gonna take it off”—robotic thuds march on. Tinny and beguiling, it wrong-foots any longtime Jacklin listeners expecting pleasing, sad, familiar guitars.

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