Recommended Tracks: “Comedown”, “Cotton Candy”, “Confetti”
Artists You May Like: Sia, Lorde, Anne-Marie
For Julia Bhatt, the notion of attaching a specific genre to her sound is just not necessary. Her music is a natural extension of her eclectic lifestyle, drawing inspiration from The Magnetic Fields to Marina and the Diamonds to Washed Out. When the world went into lockdown in 2020, Julia experimented with her unique sound even further, using music software instead of her guitar to create. The result came in the form of releases like “1:30” and “Hair Salon Vibes,” giving us a preview of what we can expect from her debut album, it is what it is.
On the whole, it is what it is has a different feel than that of which we heard on “1:30” and “Hair Salon Vibes.” Both tracks are dreamy and vibrant, as are most of the tracks on the album, but the moody beats of “1:30” and the house music on “Hair Salon Vibes” do not define the project. For the most part, we get lost in the bright indie pop of tracks like “Cotton Candy” or the warm sounds of others like “Sweetheart.” In a way, each track shares elements with one another, but finds ways to stand on their own.
To go with the bubbly music on the album, Julia gives us refreshing lyrics that radiate optimism. She dives into topics like perseverance on tracks like “Fighting Type,” which explores her anxiety around social media. Even with stress-inducing lines like “Dreaming of the people that you’ll never ever know and / Wondering if anyone is truly taking note,” Julia still reminds us, “It’s okay to not be okay when everybody’s stuck in a game.” There is also the positivity of “Confetti,” which Julia wrote as a way to get out of a negative headspace. Over cheerful pop music, she sings, “I know it’s hard to find / A little peace of mind / But there’s confetti in the air,” looking at the bigger picture.
Still, Julia has her moments when the bigger picture is not so enticing. On “Comedown,” she struggles to stay afloat, her usually robust vocals taking on a more subdued tone. Accompanied by an atmospheric production, she sings, “I never liked the comedown / The colors fade and burn out” and “I keep swimming to the bottom of the sea / Feel the motion of the ocean from the deep,” her heavy thoughts pulling her down. Julia also gets into the classic struggle of choosing between right and wrong on “On My Shoulder,” knowing that the tempting choice may not always be the best. Cutting through the inviting melodies, she observes, “There’s never a right way to mess up / There’s always a new way to give up / You can’t always get just what you want.”
In the end, it is what it is paints Julia as the genial, rising indie artist that she is. When listening to the album, we get a sense that she is an old soul, from the timeless timbre of her voice to the introspective lyrics. At the same time, Julia adds a youthful quality to her music, catering to audiences of her generation. We know that Julia will continue to defy expectations, giving us original music on her own time and in her own way. If we need a reminder, we can always refer to “Karma,” where she sings, “Don’t wait for me / I’ll always be free.”
You can listen to it is what it is on platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music.