Inner Monologue Part 2, Julia Michaels’ highly anticipated follow-up to Inner Monologue Part 1, was released on June 28. While the first installment focused more on mental health and how that plays into Michaels’ relationships, Part 2 reflects on love, friendships, her career and her self-esteem.
The first track, “17,” is all about wanting a relationship to be as easy and simple as young love can be. It is one of the more optimistic songs on the album, even though Michaels’ slightly unsure tone gives the track an uneasy feeling.
“Falling For Boys” chronicles the “Jump” singer’s search for the right guy. It has a more lighthearted vibe than some of her other tracks, perfectly summed up with the line, “I keep falling for boys and mistaking ‘em for men.” Expect to see that lyric in many an Instagram caption. Even though some of the lyrics are heavy, the upbeat production makes the song feel perfect for summer.
One of the most memorable tracks on the album is “Hurt Again.” Michaels sings about a relationship that she knows will never work, but the tongue-in-cheek lyrics give it more bite than a typical love song. With lines like “I’m too opinionated // And your mama’s gonna hate it,” and “And I know I should go pack // But where’s the fun in that,” Michaels turns a simple concept into one of the smartest pop songs of the year.
In “Work Too Much,” Michaels reflects on how her career doesn’t allow for much downtime. With the opening lyric “Hear Paris in the fall is beautiful // I haven’t seen it, though,” the tone of the song is set. While this song could have been heavier, Michaels’ light touch gives the track a fun vibe that anyone—even those of us who aren’t jet setting pop stars—can relate to.
With “Body,” Michaels returns to the more anxious tone of the songs on Inner Monologue Part 1. She sings about wishing she could love herself and her body the way that her partner does: “I just wanna love my body like you love my body.” It’s an unflinching look at the way self-esteem can influence our relationships with others.
Michaels returns to a more sarcastic vibe with the next track, “Priest.” She calls out a lying lover who wants forgiveness with lines like, “You broke my heart and now you want some redemption // Oh, you’re owning up so you can get to heaven.” With a memorable hook and catchy chorus, this is a song that you’ll gleefully sing along to after just a few listens.
“Fucked Up, Kinda” is the only song on the album with a feature. ROLE MODEL, an up-and-coming pop artist, sings along with Michaels about wanting “that fucked up kinda love.” This song fits in well with the rest of Michaels’ discography; it’s a topic that she sings about often. The chorus is instantly catchy, but with an explicit title, don’t expect to hear this one on the radio!
The last track on the album, “Shouldn’t Have Said It,” is very familiar to the hit song, “Issues,” that made Michaels a star. The song is about how both she and her partner have said and done things they shouldn’t have and Michaels gives an emotional punch with her trembling voice and minimal production. It’s a strange track to end on, seeing as how the rest of the album was more lighthearted, but “Shouldn’t Have Said It” is Michaels at her anxious, overthinking best.
Inner Monologue Part 2 is the perfect follow-up to Part 1. Michaels continues to deliver the intricate lyrics and melodies that made artists like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber want her writing their songs. Part 2 has more dimensions than its predecessor, making it feel more like an album and less like the EP that Part 1 was.
Inner Monologue Part 2 may spawn a smash single, or it may just be a decently performing body of work, but either way, Michaels isn’t too worried.
“I make music because I love it,” she said in a Billboard interview. “I like to say that music is an acquired taste, and people will either like it or hate it. And I try to focus on the ones that do, and know that I do it for them.”
Featured Image: Republic Records