WPGM Recommends: Julia Michaels – Inner Monologue Part 2 (EP Review)

Julia Carin Cavazos known professionally as Julia Michaels, is a 25-year-old American singer and songwriter from Davenport, Iowa. Julia Michaels was born in Davenport, but moved to Santa Clarita, California, about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles to chase the dream of becoming famous and getting discovered.

Her family all have passions for the performing arts, her older sister, Jaden is also a songwriter and her father John Michaels pursued a career in acting.

From an early age, Michaels discovered a love for singing at age 12, then as early as 14 she met songwriter Joleen Belle, with whom she wrote the theme song to Austin & Ally (a Disney kids show) and many other songs for TV and film. At 19 she co-wrote “Fire Starter” for Demi Lovato and “Miss Movin’ On” for Fifth Harmony with Lindy Robbins.

In her 20s, she met her song writing partner Justin Tranter with whom she frequently writes and collaborates. She is credited with writing hits for artists including: Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Shawn Mendes, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Hailee Steinfeld, and Gwen Stefani.

In 2017, she released her debut single with Republic Records titled; “Issues” which peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA and rewarded her with a Grammy Award nominations for ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Best New Artist’.

Following her first EP in 2017, Nervous System, she then released her second extended play Inner Monologue Part 1 with Republic Records at the start of 2019, including collaborations with big named pop artists; Selena Gomez and Niall Horan.

On June 28, 2019, Julia dropped Inner Monologue Part 2, all about the heartaches and the affairs of the heart. Her songs are upbeat and make a great break-up album, she is portraying herself as a very strong and powerful woman after all the heartache of previous relationships.

The first track on her EP is her hit “17”, Julia is now 25 and the song is nostalgic whilst reflecting on young love. Julia sets the tone of the song with the opening line containing “dream” reinforcing that what she desires is an unrealistic expectation of love, similarly why the love is compared to the film Grease which is a cult classic on teenage love which ends in a dream and is an unrealistic representation of young love.

When looking back, Julia craves for a simpler time where responsibilities didn’t get in the way, they had no real perspective on love and they were still exploring who they were. It was carefree and beautiful, undisrupted by real life, it was fantasy. In the second verse Julia sings; “this thing we have, we didn’t know what it was. We didn’t know we could get messed up from it”. Emphasising the lack of consequence that young love has, it feels endless and eternal at the time.

A fan-favourite song of hers within the EP is “Falling For Boys“, Julia has hinted at this song back in February 2019 with a tweet of the chorus. At New Year Julia went through a breakup with her ex-boyfriend Ari Staprans, a singer known as Lauv.

Their relationship was unbalanced, Julia gave her heart into the relationship and couldn’t do the same; this left Julia scared of commitments and afraid to fall in love again for fear of getting hurt. She explores her feelings about men and how they are able to move on much faster, leaving her feeling like she was never enough and something within her was missing. The song plays into female stereotypes of an overprotective father and always wanting to work towards finding love.

In the chorus, she repeats “hoping for change” which can be interpreted in many ways; she could be exploring the strange epidemic that women are trying to transform men into ‘husband material’ and trying to mould their personalities to make them grow up into men before they are ready and then crying when they decide they aren’t ready, whilst in the meantime ignoring all the men who are ready.

This perception is the reason why people are breaking their own hearts and blaming each other. This song could be seen to be disempowering woman due to it conforming to typical views within the patriarchy and not desiring a future for herself and her individual needs. However, she blames the fact that she is a product of her environment and does hope for change. The cyclical structure of this song is symbolic that boys just keep coming and going but real men stay.

Following the same principles of falling for boys, Julia emphasises that she is a product of her environment of a patriarchal society and is always chasing for love and security in men. She wants something that is toxic for her because it is attention that she craves.

“F**ked Up, Kinda” features ROLE MODEL, it is upbeat and repetitive, she admits to her mistakes but keeps making them; the love she gets is enough for conformation that she is loveable but it’s toxic. I think her song is relatable to many young women who are craving any love to fill a gap, even if this love isn’t real.

“Body” is a complex song that is sung in third-person about herself, done to represent herself and then the insecurities and negative voices in her head. She tweeted; “It’s scary sometimes we can have a more toxic relationship with ourselves than with somebody else. I definitely fall victim to myself a lot”.

She speaks to many women who are insecure about their bodies, their appearance, their personas. There are a lot of pressures that come with being a woman and looks is a pressure than can be really unbearable for some. This song is beautiful for raising awareness of the pressures put onto women and alleviates the pressure by enforcing more self-love and acceptance of loving your body.

Julia realises the unrealistic expectation of loving yourself all the time and sometimes giving in to your insecurities; “So you put a sweatshirt on ’cause you gave up / Watched TV, still in your makeup / And you stayed in” but overall looking after ourselves and ignoring the negative insecurities is our key to happiness.

Overall, Julia’s EP is an outstanding break-up album as it goes through all of the various emotions of heartache, emptiness, lacking self-love and learning to start loving yourself and admit to your own mistakes. The EP is upbeat and optimistic representing change within her life and hopefully an influence to the many other woman who are stuck trying to fall for boys and not men, not getting what they really deserve and desire.

Julia Michaels Inner Monologue Part 2 EP is out now via Republic Records, purchase it on iTunes here.

Words by Abbie Hewer

Abbie Hewer

I’m an overly passionate music listener who is forward thinking and writes about music that makes me actually feel something. Incorporating my opinions and opinions of other young people about interpretations of modern music and what it means to us.

https://www.instagram.com/abbie.hewer

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