I don't think we'd rhyme
I will wear you down in time
I will hurt you, I'll desert you
I am Jackie down the line
A "Jackeen" is a derogatory term used by people from other parts of Ireland to describe someone from Dublin. The Irish city traditionally had a strong association with Britain, and when Queen Victoria visited Dublin, folks there waved Union Jacks as a welcome to Her Majesty. This led to them being referred to as Jackeens.
Fontaines D.C. singer Grian Chatten, along with the rest of the band, left Ireland to pursue his music career in London. Here, he explores the transformation of their Irish culture and identity after moving to a different country. "It's this kind of mutation of Irishness or loss of Irishness as it exists, or fails to exist, in a different environment," he explained to Apple Music.
"Jackie Down The Line" came together almost instantaneously when Fontaines were working on a different track but got stuck. They called it a day, and just as Chatten was leaving, he heard bassist Conor Deegan playing the song's rumbling bassline. "I had the melody come to my head before I'd got to the door," he recalled. "I turned round, and we had the song basically done in about 20 minutes."
Fontaines D.C. released the song as the first single from Skinty Fia on January 12, 2022. The band's thoughts on how identities alter when relocated to different places is central to the record. The album title is an Irish phrase, translating to "the damnation of the deer," alluding to the extinct Irish elk.
The Fontaines thought Skinty Fa was a fitting title for an album that addressed the state of dislocated Irishness. "It obviously suggests that it's the end of Irish culture," Chatton told Uncut magazine, "but I think we're really more trying to talk about how it survives or mutates or transforms."
The Irish post-punkers debuted "Jackie Down the Line" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
on January 12, 2022. Their recorded live performance
took place in an empty theater.
The Hugh Mulhern-directed video stars multidisciplinary artist, MC, dancer, and choreographer Blackhaine.
Skinty Fia started coming together in Dublin once lockdown restrictions allowed the band members to meet up. It continued to take shape back in London during night sessions at Fontaines' rehearsal space.
"We came back together with loads of different influences for the songs," Conor Deegan told Mojo magazine. "So, for 'Jackie Down The Line,' I'd been experimenting with all these different kinds of pedals. I'd been trying to work out sounds like Nine Inch Nails. I think that was the kind of thing you could only come up with if you had a load of time on your hands. There's a lot to be taken from Nine Inch Nails in terms of arrangements and instrumentation. That kind of fragile approach to beauty, even among the earlier brash stuff."