Julia Michaels returns with her second release of 2019, Inner Monologue Part II. The follow-up and natural continuation of Part I. Fresh from a support slot with Pink on a recent US tour and set to embark on her own headline shows, the pop priestess elect unleashes her latest EP.
Inner Monologue II is filled with tales of insecurity and despair which are set against uplifting melodies, clever and witty arrangements.
The extended play opens with ‘17’ where the singer-songwriter muses on how life and love is easier when you are at that ‘in-between’ age.
The track sets up the feel of the rest of the virtual disc. By the time you reach the end of track three, Hurt Again, you find yourself feeling so much empathy for the voice you are hearing and the stories it tells.
In Body, the fifth track, Julia explores the warped perspective of one’s self and emotional fallout when your view clashes with that of others, especially those closer to you. It’s heart-wrenching.
As the EP Steam rolls towards the closing, the tide starts to turn and you get a glimpse of the singer’s anger. With Priest and Shouldn’t have said it you feel the fury and ultimately the remorse. The collaboration with ROLE MODEL, F****d Up, Kind is the most commercial of all the tracks with its beat and chord progression. It is perfectly placed, but Julia still doesn’t stray from the theme of her inner voice.
The lyrics are centred in self-deprecation and are defeatist in nature, which plays perfectly with the soft and understated tone of the vocals. Julia, or the character she may be embodying, has had a tough time, but those turbulent conditions and a perfect emotional storm has given birth to true musical inspiration. There is youthful angst without screaming or shouting, there is sadness without tears and there is a sorrow without bitterness.
The feel of the eight tracks is very much a reflection of the title; there is a feel that, at times, you are privileged to hear the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. It’s not always an easy rider, but the journey is worth taking.
This is in no way your typical paint by numbers chart hit assured mix, not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s rooted in pop, but it is much more. Greyer and colder than you’d expect from the genre. Julia Michaels smashes you against her rocks with siren songs and as you slip below the surface you are submerged by the dark side of pop.
By Matthew Wand