When I go to SXSW in Austin each year, I take notes on every show I see. Seeing a hundred shows in four days means faces, sounds, and the space-time continuum blend together by the end, so I leave myself written reminders. “Feather costume, death lyrics,” for example, or “gravel guitar, honey voice.” When I saw singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin perform in a chuch sanctuary, I didn’t take any notes at all. I’m not even sure I blinked. I was too captivated by the singer in front of me to think about anything at all. And it was this song, “Don’t Let the Kids Win,” that did it to me.
Every word of this track feels true and Jacklin was smart to keep her instrumentation simple and the new music video low-key. She keeps the attention on her lyrics, which are stark and sweet and painful. It’s about getting older, and about loving what you have while you have it— messages that could easily become mawkish, were they in less capable hands.
Jacklin’s debut album, Don’t Let the Kids Win, is out now.