You might not hear it on your first few listens of Julia Jacklin’s PRE PLEASURE (out Friday, August 26th), but underneath the ten beautifully arranged, open-hearted tracks is the presence of a certain French-Canadian megastar.
“I feel like it’s a bit of a personality test for me now,” the Australian singer-songwriter tells Consequence of the one-and-only Celine Dion. “If someone is shit-talking Celine Dion, I’m like, what do you find joy in?”
And though you’ll likely never hear Jacklin perform “Moviegoer” in a 45,000-seat Las Vegas arena, Jacklin cites Dion as being a “spiritual guide” during the writing and recording of her latest album. Inspired by Dion’s unabashedly dramatic pop ballads, Jacklin found herself with a newfound license to have fun and embrace big feelings. Such freedom combined with a more sizable budget resulted in the potent, truthful PRE PLEASURE.
The record sees Jacklin exploring a slightly new set of sounds, like on the drum machine-driven “Lydia Wears A Cross” or the string-backed “Ignore Tenderness,” all without losing the magic of her voice. It’s the sound of Jacklin finding the comfort to embrace compositional collaboration and the confidence to follow her instincts without worrying if it aligns with the indie-rock definition of “cool.”
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better at understanding that I don’t need to be really good at everything in order for it to happen,” Jacklin tells Consequence. “This time, I’ve just grown up and I feel more confident in these spaces, and I know that I have skills and I don’t need to feel inadequate because I don’t have all the skills.”
It’s an epiphany too often undervalued. Much like Julien Baker on Little Oblivions, Jacklin’s loosened grip brings out the best in both her songwriting and her performance. PRE PLEASURE delivers the big moments just as expertly as the quiet ones, offering a track list that’s varied in sonic texture and constituent in quality.
It’s exciting to speculate where Jacklin will go after PRE PLEASURE. As her profile deservedly grows and her resources continue to expand, it’s impossible to say what she’ll accomplish. What is clear, however, is that it’s sure to be emotionally inquisitive, brutally honest, and wholly Julia Jacklin. For now, PRE PLEASURE continues her impressive streak, capping off her first three-album run with a high point. Now, if we could just get a “My Heart Will Go On” cover…
Check out Julia Jacklin’s PRE PLEASURE below, followed by an interview with the Australian artist. Jacklin is also touring in support of PRE PLEASURE, with tickets available here.
This record sees you continuing to expand your sound, incorporating new timbres and even an orchestra. What sparked this direction?
A big budget is probably the main thing. I don’t have any whimsical, creative reasons necessarily. It was just like, I had more freedom to do stuff like that, whereas I [hadn’t] in the past. [With] both the records that I’ve made in the past — you’ve got the four-paced band and you just make it work. This time around, there was more budget and there was more time. Marcus [Paquin], who co-produced the record, knew some people as well. He’s got a good rolodex. I think being in North America is handy as well. There are just more people who know what they’re doing.
It was just my dreams being able to come true in ways that they wouldn’t have been able to in the past. In the past, I’ve always been like, “It’d be great to have strings on this,” but it costs a lot of money, you need someone to do the score for you if you can’t do it yourself. It was a new world for me, I never understood how anybody ever did that stuff but it was super quick. I sang the melody lines that I wanted the orchestra to do and then Owen Pallett put something together, and then two days later, I’m on a Zoom call with him and the orchestra in Prague. And half an hour later, you got yourself some orchestral sounds. It was a very new process for me.