Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Julia Michaels – Uh Huh

This time, it’s us with issues. (Sadly not a Tkay Maidza cover.)


Hannah Jocelyn: This delirious, overdriven hair-whip will either implode upon impact to pop radio or launch Julia into the upper tier of pop stars as well as pop songwriters. “Uh Huh” feels as close to a genuine gamble as anything she’s done, especially considering how safe the production of “Issues” felt. It doesn’t seem that weird at first, but when Julia reaches the hook, the whole thing just blows open, with a bizarre non-melody and lyrics that more or less boil down to those opening lines from that one R. Kelly song. Those mocking, spelunking pianos only add to the rush of ridiculousness. It’s inspiring to see someone be this outlandish and defiant when even those known for outlandishness are either reining it in or merely confused where to go next.

Alfred Soto: After a compelling performance of the okay “Issues” at the Billboard Music Awards last month, I thought Julia Michaels was on her way to a decent career of Kelly Clarkson-indebted psychosexual explorations. Turns out I’d no idea. The screeches and hard acoustic strums, the sense of play — not bad. If she gets this into the American top ten, I’ll think we crossed some Rubicon. 

Katie Gill: Easily the worst part of “Issues” was Julia Michaels’s boring, flustered delivery of the song. So why on Earth is she doubling down with that delivery on the verses?! The chorus is the most interesting just because it sounds like the chorus was arranged and produced by an entirely different person than the vocals.

Micha Cavaseno: Its mixed like the ugliest record on Jamie Lidell’s “Compass”, made all the more worst by that painfully apparent acoustic guitar bit. Meanwhile Michaels here is a relentless vocal presence who can’t seem to crayon within the lines. All in all, this might be the one of the most jarringly capricious productions out there, perfectly tied to a voice that’s now somehow able to be harnessed for its uneven quality. Wild.

Thomas Inskeep: I fucking hate her twee-by-numbers voice, and have serious trouble getting past it to hear anything else. But once I do, I find a dull song based around campfire acoustic guitar with some truly terrible lyrics, so there’s that.

Katherine St Asaph: How did we get a world where Julia Michaels is the best hope of a woman making the Top 10 by herself? Or that, given roughly equal starting fanbases, the songwriters who successfully go pop — Michaels, Sia, probably Kesha — are the ones who sound far less polished, less sure-thing, than the ones who don’t (mourn pop’s loss of Bonnie McKee)? Distribution of industry money, probably, but part of it’s also got to be listeners wanting authenticity. “Uh Huh” has it in shambolic excess: autotune vocal crack glissandos, lyrics splayed in and around the confines of their chorus, the general air of a gawky Gwen Stefani (for whom Michaels has written). Fitting that the song about confused crushing is the one where I can’t decide whether it’s actually good.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The lovestruck lyrics, the clanging keys, the squeaking voice–a song with this many affectations risks being derided as grating. But Julia Michaels gets it: all the best music regarded as twee is highly performative, so you might as well double down.

Nortey Dowuona: Lazy chorus but pretty lyrics. Julia’s a good enough singer to sell this, but not good enough to be hampered with a chorus that stops the song dead and knocks the life back out of it every time it builds. Nuh-uh.

Stephen Eisermann: This feels like something Andy Grammer would record, and I don’t like Andy Grammer. Between the random guitar stops and inflections in Julia’s voice, it’s hard to keep track of what she’s really trying to say in the song. I think she’s expressing how turned on she is with her weird vocal shifts, but it’s hard to tell if she did that for effect or if that is just how her voice sounds.

Reader average: [9.57] (7 votes)

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4 Responses to “Julia Michaels – Uh Huh”

  1. This song is unhinged in the best possible way

  2. I love this song lads

  3. took me a while to get around on this one but song rules

  4. yeah i weirdly love this song (i haaaaaaaaaaate “issues”)