There’s no better way for Selena Gomez to return to our earbuds than hand-in-hand with one of her closest friends. The “Bad Liar” singer has been laying low for the past few months after reportedly seeking treatment for her mental health, but on Thursday (January 24), she reemerged on an intimate new song with Julia Michaels.
“Anxiety” is the opening track on Michaels’s new EP, Inner Monologue, Pt. 1, and it sets the tone for the refreshingly candid project. “Feel like I’m always apologizing for feeling like I’m out of my mind when I’m doing just fine,” Michaels and Gomez earnestly sing over a plucking acoustic guitar, detailing how their anxiety affects their relationships. “All my friends, they don’t know what it’s like, what it’s like / They don’t understand why I can’t sleep through the night.”
Fans of Michaels’s breakout hit “Issues” know that she has a blunt, honest approach to songwriting, and that’s here in spades on the stark, relatable, and at times snarky and self-deprecating duet.
On Instagram, Gomez celebrated the release of “Anxiety” by writing, “My sweet soul sister. Julia you have been a huge part of my life. You have taught me how to have courage when I have self doubt. This song is extremely close to my heart as I’ve experienced anxiety and know a lot of my friends do too. You’re never alone if you feel this way. The message is much needed and I really hope you guys like it!”
Michaels, meanwhile, explained how the collab came together during an interview with Beats 1 host Zane Lowe on Thursday. She recalled, “I sent it to Selena and I was like, ‘I think it’d be really awesome to have a song with two women on it that struggle with the same thing that are talking about something other than fighting for a guy’s attention or something like that. It’s almost like a female empowerment song. … It’s us saying, ‘Hey, we have anxiety and we’re OK with it.’ And she was like, ‘I am so into this, I love this so much.'”
Inner Monologue, Pt. 1 is Michaels’s first release since her 2017 EP, Nervous System. Aside from “Anxiety,” the six-song collection also includes a collaboration with Niall Horan, the reflective and bittersweet “What A Time.” Michaels told Lowe that she plans to release another EP, Pt. 2, later this year.