German bedroom pop artist Julia Karr released her new organic, honeyed single “Non Essential” today, exploring the jaunty sounds of the summer and the heavyweight feelings of anxiety and unease.
The song grooves as smoothly and naturally as her voice. Her voice sits at a lower, comfortable alto register, and displays proficiency in the combined singing styles and techniques of a variety of genres, the most prominent being jazz, despite the song not being a jazz tune at all. In fact, the song’s groove is more in line with what we’ve come to see within indie R&B. It’s then layered with some iridescent, lofty synths, crunchy guitar, and even a light and airy flute. The result is an amalgamation of sound and influence that’s nestled comfortably under the indie-pop umbrella, but has a distinct multifaceted sound and personality unique to Karr.
Lyrically, the song navigates the complicated feelings of isolation and insecurity when dealing with anxiety and self-perceived difficulties within interpersonal relationships. Even though the themes of the song are rather heavy, they’re conveyed in a more lighthearted, even humorous tone. Karr is smart to take these all-too-common feelings and write them in a way that’s accessible to her audience – it feels real and honest, like you’re opening up her personal diary.
While “Non Essential” is about struggling with anxiety, there’s an upbeat, feel-good quality to it that sounds like it’s written for long summer days. The juxtaposition between the lyrical content and the groove of the melody highlights these complex feelings even further, almost like it’s saying, “I fear these people don’t like me as much as they say, but I’m along for the ride anyway.” Upon listening to it the first, second, even third time, I found myself noticeably moving along with it. It’s undeniably infectious, breezy, and fun.
Julia Karr is a singer/songwriter and producer currently residing in Hamburg, Germany. As the daughter of immigrants and with a life spent in four different countries, her wide range of influences reflects her experiences and exposures to different cultures, people, and music. She mixes her influences together to create her own niche within the indie-pop world, painting an atmosphere that she calls “a world of magic, beauty, and good feels.”
Written by Jess Ward, Edited by Tatum Jenkins