Listen Up: Inner Monologue, Pt. 1

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Listen Up: Inner Monologue, Pt. 1

Lauren Toneatto ’21, Social Media Editor

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As crazy as it may sound, I typically don’t listen to music while on campus. I’ve discovered my main encounter with music is when I’m driving in my car at home, and this consists of listening to the same Broadway cast albums on repeat with some Taylor Swift mixed in. 

Therefore, when I stumbled upon Julia Michael’s EP, Inner Monologue, Pt. 1, I didn’t think too much of it. Now, I can confidently say I listen to the full EP at least once a day and the songs are constantly stuck in my head on the off moments I’m not listening through my headphones. 

The first song on Michaels’ EP is arguably my least favorite. While I don’t dislike “Anxiety” nearly as much as the first time I heard it, I still find myself skipping this track featuring Selena Gomez. Frankly, Michaels’ voice sounds whiny. While this conveys the song’s depressing tone, it sacrifices Michaels’ otherwise strong voice. When Gomez enters the track her voice also mimics this odd vocal choice. In addition,, no matter how many times I listen to this song, the lyrics of Gomez’s verse simply don’t make sense to me. What does “Always wanted to be one of those people in the room / That says something and everyone puts their hand up / Like, ‘If you’re sad put your hand up / If you hate someone, put your hand up’” even mean? In short, neither the vocals or lyrics compare to the wonder and enjoyment that is the rest of the EP. 

Moving on, the rest of Michaels’ EP is nothing short of fantastic. I find her voice particularly strong in “Into You.” She’s able to flawlessly hit high notes throughout the song. As well, the chorus and melody are very catchy given the repetition and backing vocals. 

I find myself particularly gravitating towards “Happy,” the EP’s third song. While the song’s premise is about coping after a breakup, the chorus, “Oh, I just wanna be f*cking happy,” resonates as a universal line. Michaels’ ability to adlib then transition smoothly into the chorus serves as one of this song’s strengths. Her raspy vocals alongside these adlibs beautifully conveys the ranting nature of this track. 

Michaels’ high notes in “Deep” paired with a stellar beat really elevate this song. A combination of short notes with flowing verses creates a stop and start quality that differentiates this song from others on Inner Monologue, Pt. 1. Michaels’ will often sing a short note and end it abruptly, creating an airy feeling allowing her notes to resonate beautifully. Her words often roll into one another, contributing to an effortless, cool vibe. 

I find myself unconsciously snapping along to “Apple” as the first notes begin. It took me a few listens to even notice the lyrics meaning because the instrumental aspects of this song really shine. The song is very carefree describing young love and otherwise meaningless occurrences that become elevated when you’re in love. My head bobs to the bouncy beat enhanced by the inclusion of a ukulele, adding to the light and airy vibe of “Apple.” 

The final song, and first I listened to, continues to be my favorite. “What a Time” featuring Niall Horan starts off soft and sincere before transitioning into an intense and painful message. Horan’s voice comes in smoothly, fitting nicely with the slower melody. In the chorus, Michaels’ voice echoes as she repeats the title. After Horan’s entrance into the song, his vocals further this echoing effect building emotion and creating a nice contrast to Michaels’ soft voice. Additionally, emotion builds as the song’s choruses shift from “What a Time” to “What a Lie.” This is a subtle shift but creates a huge impact. Michaels’ and Horan’s voices balance well with each other, making this song a stand out. 

Overall, I would highly recommend Julia Michaels’ newest EP. Every song is rather short allowing you to listen to the full EP in just 18 minutes, a quality I particularly appreciate. I’m continually impressed by Michaels’ vocal range as her voice transitions from raspy to effortless high notes across tracks and within the same song extremely smoothly. If you have 20 minutes to kill, definitely listen to Inner Monologue, Pt. 1. I cannot wait to see what Part 2 has in store!