Julia Louise – Shock Therapy

Julia Louise

Listening to a new artist is like reading a new book series. When you turn to the first page, you don’t know anything about the main character or the author who created him or her. You have no idea what kind of hero you’ll be following or what life they live. You can read the book jacket, but this only gives you the story’s premise. Even if your friends tell you about it, there’s no telling if your opinion afterward will be the same as theirs. The only way to answer all your questions is to start reading. The same applies to music—a biography or reviews can never equal your experiences listening to a new song. If you want to know anything about the song or the artist, you must push play. This week, I experienced this with Julia Louise and her song “Shock Therapy.”

Julia has just appeared on the music scene, originating from Washington and premiering her first EP “Insatiable” on June 10. Recorded with California-based No Sleep Records, “Insatiable” will be a digital EP comprised of three songs: “Nothing Can Compare,” “Shock Therapy,” and “Hazy.” Right now, Julia has only released “Shock Therapy,” a reflective track inspired by her lonely days in high school. During this time, her mother was hospitalized for an addiction and her father lived in Russia, leaving Julia home alone. 

Listening to this track was surreal. I had no idea what genre Julia practiced, so I didn’t know what to expect. Would this be a guitar-driven, hard rock song or something different? Honestly, I don’t think I could place it in a genre, even now. The song opens with a slow, faded guitar and beat that reminded me somewhat of Mai Kuraki’s “Secret of My Heart.” Although, it isn’t the instrumentals that are similar, rather they share a steady, sleepy beat.  “Shock Therapy” sounds like a lullaby (which is ironic, given this was recorded with No Sleep Records). Along with the gentle beat, Julia’s voice is soft and soothing, giving an echoing effect that relaxes you with every word. I almost passed out the first few times I listened to it. Julia LouiseAfter I caffeinated my system, I focused on the lyrics. From the beginning, the song is set up as the narrator reflecting on her past, told as if she was talking to her mother, telling her how she felt back then. We see this in lyrics like “I found out you’re an addict/That’s why he divorced you.” She and her sister stressed her mother out, possibly driving her into her addiction. She felt guilty, but also resented her mother because she drove her father away. The struggles the narrator goes through causes her to ignore her mother and she has nothing left of her past, happier life. My favorite line appears towards the end, when the narrator looks at old pictures, depicting her and her mother, “crucified on your camera phone.” It’s such a powerful line and it solidifies her family can never go back to the way it was. 

I don’t know everything about Julia Louise, but this song reveals her past has shaped her future. She can never go back to her old life, those happier times with her mom, dad, and sister. Even so, these experiences have made her a stronger person. Her mother’s addiction and her father’s departure made her feel lonely in high school, but she’s older now. She has moved past this time, confident enough to realize her feelings and explain them to her mother. To see a character overcome past tragedies makes any story worth reading. I definitely want to know more about Julia Louise’s story.

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