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Julia Jacklin: Five Essential Leonard Cohen Songs

Julia Jacklin (photo by Shervin Lainez, PR)

Julia Jacklin (photo by Shervin Lainez, PR)


Julia Jacklin and Leonard Cohen both released new albums in October 2016 and to a casual observer, that might seem to be all that Jacklin, 26, and Cohen, 82, have in common. In addition to that big generation gap, Jacklin grew up in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, a good 10,000 miles from Cohen's birthplace of Montréal (although slightly closer to his current home of Los Angeles).

But there's a precise, poetic bridge between Jacklin's eloquent debut, Don't Let The Kids Win, and Cohen's masterful fourteenth album, You Want It Darker. Both songwriters candidly examine the velocity and complexity of growing older in their albums — Jacklin from the wistfully impatient angle of a young woman in search of artistic (and romantic) fulfillment and Cohen from an elderly man's perspective on life's fast-approaching last chapter. Time and memories define both albums.

Not surprisingly, the wise-before-her-time Jacklin, who is already shouldering comparisons to Courtney Barnett and Angel Olsen, is a big fan of Leonard Cohen and wrote about her "Five Essential Leonard Cohen Songs" for FUV Essentials:

Julia Jacklin: Five Essential Leonard Cohen Songs:

"Suzanne," Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
This is my most favourite song in the world. It has been for years and I don’t see that changing. I just think it’s perfect. The way he says "tea and oranges" gets me everytime. It sounds like he had something stuck in his throat but he keeps on singing.

"Memories," Death of a Ladies' Man (1977)
This was the song that got me into his music. I was watching Oh Mercy open for Father John Misty and they covered it. It took a bit of a drunk, post-gig Google search to figure it out.

"Diamonds in the Mine," Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
The song really makes me laugh. Sometimes when I find myself taking music too seriously or getting caught up in it all, I listen to this song and it sets me straight.

"Joan of Arc," Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
This is just incredible lyricism. It’s just so beautiful. Every line is quotable; it ends with: “myself I long for love and light, but must is come so cruel, and oh so bright?” Sigh…

"Paper Thin Hotel," Death of a Ladies' Man (1977)
I like the moment and the emotion that he captured here. It’s not something that’s sung about often. Not being jealous of something and how good that feels when you finally get to that point with an ex. The thought of them touching someone else doesn’t make you feel sick anymore.

- Julia Jacklin
October 2016

Read all of FUV's Five Essentials.