Julia Michaels, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter, has always angelically delivered her pure agony through her crafted lyrics. In her 2017 debut “Issues,” Julia shared a very personal story about her relationship and sang it so passionately. In 2018, she delivered a masterpiece collaboration with Clean Bandit, “I Miss You;” her mellow vocals connected with her listeners. And her Inner Monologue project was no exception.
Inner Monologue consists of two EPs, Part 1 was released on January 24, 2019, and Part 2 on June 28, 2019. The 14 tracks from the EPs have a taste of empowerment, vulnerability, melancholy, and bittersweetness. It is called inner monologue because the songs reflect what is on her mind—the conversations she has with herself.
In Part 1 opening song, Anxiety, Julia and Selena sang about mental health issues so frankly, not in a depressing beat, but in a hopeful one. The lyrics explain the complex feelings one can have. “Not just anxiety, but the fear of missing out and sort of wanting to do things but never actually having the ability to go through with anything that you want to do,” Julia told Zane Lowe via Beats 1. Sung by two powerful women who have gone through this struggle, Anxiety is a track of empowerment.
Julia also candidly wrote about her relationships. Her labyrinthine stories of love are reflected in her songs, lyrically and vocally. Deep describes the remaining anxiety from a previous relationship and how, despite that, she has the ability to dive “deep” into a new relationship. The smooth melody and voice tell it all. In Hurt Again, Julia showcased that she “love[s] love.” She deemed love as “magical”, and the pain from a bad relationship is worth-it because she gets to experience the magic. It’s okay to be “hurt again.”
In Part 2’s Work Too Much, she opened up about overwhelming adult responsibilities. “’Cause I, I work too much, I just wanna hang around with all of my friends, Break down, fall in love.” It seems as though this song, like the others, is therapy to the pressure.
My favorite track in Part 2, Body, like many of her songs, is so close to her heart. It tackles body image issue and self-hatred. In an interview with iHeart Radio, she said, “I wanted to write it from the perspective of literally fighting with yourself and that toxic relationship between yourself and yourself.” Many of us are victims of that perilous relationship. We’re in a constant fight with body image. Her openness reassures her listeners they’re not alone.
I truly admire artists who let their guard down. Artists are also human beings like us; they, too, feel complex and profound emotions. To transfer those powerful experiences and meaningful moments into musical words, it takes great courage. Julia Michaels has had that courage since she first stepped out of the song-writing curtain in 2017 when “Issues” came out. Since the age of 17, she has utilized her skill to empower herself and others. The expression of her identity is an inspiration to her fans and her peers. The impact she has on the music industry can only amplify from here.
Written by: Thathiny Tep