When I chatted briefly to Jillian Jacqueline back in 2019 when she was last here in the UK she told me that her debut album was work in progress, something she wanted take her time over and get exactly right. It’s something that so many of us have been eagerly anticipating following on from her well-received singles and EP releases and last Friday we finally got the chance to listen to “Honestly”, the passion project which has been several years in the making . As the saying goes, you can’t hurry a masterpiece and Jillian has definitely provided me with a strong contender for album of the year, something I’d actually mentioned on social media was likely to be the case a few weeks ago based solely on the handful of tracks made available ahead of release day.
But the flip side to the break up songs are the love songs celebrating what Jillian and Bryan have together. “Sure” is an out and out declaration of love, and in the delicate album closer ” Honeymoon” with minimal piano-chords as accompaniment Jillian voices her intention to always remember the heady early days of their relationship whatever life may throw at them in the future. It’s another love song which opens the album, “Ocean”, which I remember impressing me when I heard it performed live back in 2019, and the addition of the wonderful Charlie Worsham’s vocals on the album version is perfect.
While we all want our relationships/marriages to work this isn’t always the case and on “Iconic” Jillian voices her insecurities and uncertainties based on past experiences alongside her romantic hopes for the future . “Maybe it’ll always be the blind leadin’ the blind. But the beauty’s in the tryin’ so let’s do it for a lifetime”. What an phenomenal love song in every respect, and the beautiful accompanying video includes images from their Paris engagement and ensuing wedding… and the ending, aww, so cute!
Among these very intense tracks “Bandwagon” provides some light relief while continuing to provide a lot to think about. Most of us are guilty of being super-fast to follow the latest trends without much thought in some way or other, “who wants to be late to the party that’s already started?” . This track seems to be a a pointed dig at the fickleness of the music industry and fame in particular, “those fifteen minutes fly, when the last sun sets we’ll follow who’s up next”.