When singer-songwriter Julia Michaelsreleased her 6-track EP Inner Monologue Part 1 back in January, listeners gravitated towards “Anxiety,” quickly making it the most played song on the project. Though its subject matter surely resonates deeply with certain subsets of listeners, the track feels a bit theatrical at times and doesn’t show much of the hard-hitting songwriting that Michaels is best known for. The final track on Inner Monologue, “What A Time” features Niall Horan and showcases Michaels’ knack for presenting deeply personal and emotion-provoking lyrics that cut like a knife.
Since Inner Monologue‘s release, “What A Time” has finally started to receive its deserved recognition as the EP’s standout track. This is likely due, in part, to Julia and Niall’s warmly-lit the Late Late Show with James Cordenperformance, as well as the recently released video of the two performing the track acoustically.
“I feel a little nauseous and my hands are shaking, I guess that means you’re close by,” Julia sings from her seat as Niall strums along just a few inches away from her. At the top of his verse, Niall’s vocals are sturdy, and effortlessly so.
When their voices fully intertwine on the second chorus, plumped up by the melody of a piano, all feelings of a performance being conducted in a room full of camera are loss. The two singers seem like good friends getting together and singing just for the hell of it, and getting lost in doing so. It feels comfortable and unorchestrated, right down to the ‘love you’s’ shared at the videos conclusion.
In the video, Julia and Niall appear between interpolations of serene cuts of nature, sunrises and sunsets–the blues and purples of certain clips providing a nice contrast to the neutral tone of the performance space.