Before the warm weather becomes consistent and the “Best Summer Bops of 2019” playlists flood in, I wanted to highlight Julia Jacklin’s gloomy masterpiece off her 2019 LP, Crushing. The album is a collection of stories about failed relationships and the attempts made by Julia to save what’s left of herself. However, “Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You” stands out as the album’s highlight as Julia describes the somber tale of how her relationship weakened due to an unintentional, but unstoppable, growing commonality between her and her lover.
What may have helped bring the two together, familiarity begins to unravel the relationship. The act of gift giving is no longer exciting as Julia knows exactly what’s inside and now “there’s nothing left to find”. They know each other too well; their minds and their bodies have become so indifferentiable that Julia struggles to find herself in the relationship. She’s scared of what the relationship has come to, but is just as afraid of ending it.
“Who will I be / Now that you’re no longer next to me?”
Rediscovering herself seems too daunting of a task and so she struggles to keep the relationship together. My favorite verse on the track describes Julia doing just that,
“What if I cleaned up? / What if I worked on my skin? / I could scrub until I am red, hot, weak and thin / Too tired to run away / What do I do now? / There’s nothing left to say”
The heavy two line chorus, “Don’t know how to keep loving you / Now that I know you so well”, closes out the track as sound and emotional accumulate till Julia reaches her breaking point. Julia cries out for something that will save her from the inevitable, repeating the chorus over and over. Signifying the end of her efforts, Julia’s vocals disappear and instrumentals carry the song home. There’s nothing left to try and nothing she can do to undo what’s festered.
I highly recommend the entire LP – it’s filled with other lyrically outstanding tracks. Definitely check out “Body”, “Good Guy”, and “You Were Right” as well.