Issues (Julia Michaels song)

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"Issues"
Issues (Official Single Cover) by Julia Michaels.png
Single by Julia Michaels
from the album Nervous System
ReleasedJanuary 13, 2017 (2017-01-13)
FormatDigital download
RecordedJanuary 2016
Studio
GenrePop
Length2:56
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Julia Michaels singles chronology
"Carry Me"
(2016)
"Issues"
(2017)
"Uh Huh"
(2017)
Music video
"Issues" on YouTube

"Issues" is the debut single recorded by American singer and songwriter Julia Michaels, from her third EP Nervous System (2017). The song was co-written with Justin Tranter, and its producers Benny Blanco and Stargate. Released by Republic Records on January 13, 2017, as the lead single from the EP, it is a confessional downtempo pop song. Lyrically, it is a raw ode to Michaels' anxiety.

The song peaked in the top 10 of the record charts in Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Norway, Scotland and UK. In the US, the song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Tabitha Denholm. It depicts Michaels hosting a party with a group of friends.[1]

The video premiered on March 7, 2017. "Issues" received a Song of the Year nomination at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.[2] Michaels promoted the song in a number of appearances, including live performances at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards, Wango Tango, the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, the 2017 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards, the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards and The Today Show.

Background and composition[edit]

"Issues" was written by Michaels, Benjamin Levin, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen and Justin Tranter.[3] A few artists, who Stargate and Benny Blanco refused to name, laid claim to the song. However, Michaels refused to give the song away as it felt "too much my story to give to someone else.[4]

Recording sessions for "Issues" took place at Westlake Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California, and Treehouse X Studio, Suffolk, United Kingdom. It was engineered by Dave Schwerkolt and Chris Sclafani.[3] Mark “Spike” Stent mixed the track at Mixsuite UK with assistance from Michael Freeman and Geoff Swish.[3] Blanco and Stargate, who produced the song, also performed all the instruments and programming.[3] Tom Coyne and Randy Merrill completed the audio mastering at Sterling Sound, New York City.[3]

Musically, "Issues" is a confessional downtempo pop song.[5] In terms of music notation, "Issues" was composed using 4
4
common time
in the key of A major, with a moderate tempo of 114 beats per minute.[6] The song follows the chord progression of D-E-A/C-Dsus2 and Michaels' vocal range spans from the low note C4 to the high note of E5, giving the song one octave and two notes of range.[6] Lyrically, Michaels has described the song as a raw ode to her own anxieties.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received generally positive reviews from music critics. A writer for Billboard praised the song, writing, "with blunt, honest lyricism and razor-sharp songwriting, Michaels' decision to choose minimal production proves to be wise, helping to frame her intriguing vocals expertly in order to give fans a delicious first taste of what is yet to come".[7] Writing for Idolator, Mike Wass stated "it can be hard for songwriters to carve out a unique voice when they step out on their own, but it doesn’t look like that will be a problem for Julia".[8]

Music video[edit]

The official music video for the song, directed by Tabitha Denholm, was released on March 7, 2017. It features Michaels experiencing the unknown that every relationship goes through.[9] It potrays the singer in a "loving" relationship which "feels like it could fall apart any moment.[10] The male role is played by Alex Koch.[11] The official lyric video for the song was released after the music video on May 17, 2017. It was directed by Pedro Chaves and shot in London, United Kingdom. The video displays the life of several people and several backgrounds.[12]

Chart performance[edit]

"Issues" reached the top 10 in Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway, Romania, Scotland, and the Czech Republic and the top 20 in some other countries.[13][14][15] In the United Kingdom, it peaked at number 10.[16]

In Australia, the song climbed up the ARIA Singles Chart for five weeks before reaching number five there. [17] It was eventually certified Gold there, having sold more than 35,000 copies in the country. It also reached number 11 in New Zealand.[18]

In the United States, "Issues" spent 18 weeks on the chart before reaching a peak of number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks.[19][20] The song had sold 1,040,000 copies in the United States as of January 2018.

Live performances[edit]

Michaels made her late night television debut on March 20, 2017 performing "Issues" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She also performed "Issues" at the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards on April 30, 2017 and at Wango Tango on May 13, 2017.[21][22] At the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, Michaels was selected as the T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist and gave a performance of "Issues" that was regarded one of the night's best by several media outlets.[23][24] Michaels also performed the song at the 2017 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards on June 18, 2017[25] and at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2017.[26] The song was performed on The Today Show on August 2017.[27]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[28]
No.TitleLength
1."Issues"2:56
Digital download – acoustic version[29]
No.TitleLength
1."Issues" (Acoustic)2:55
Digital download – Alan Walker remix[30]
No.TitleLength
1."Issues" (Alan Walker remix)3:01

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording and management

  • Recorded and Tracked at Westlake Studios (Los Angeles, California) and Treehouse X Studio (Suffolk, United Kingdom)
  • Mixed at Mixsuite UK
  • Mastered at Sterling Sound (New York City)
  • Published by Please Don’t Forget To Play Me Music/Administered by Universal Music Publishing (GMR), EMI Music Publishing (ASCAP), EMI Music Publishing (ASCAP), Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) Thanks For The Songs Richard (BMI) All Rights on behalf of Itself and Thanks For The Songs Richard Administered by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp, Justin’s School for Girls/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp/All Rights Administered by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp (BMI)

Personnel

Credits adapted from Nervous System liner notes.[3]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[89] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Belgium (BEA)[90] Platinum 30,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[91] 5× Platinum 400,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[92] 2× Platinum 180,000^
France (SNEP)[93] Diamond 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[94] Gold 200,000^
Italy (FIMI)[95] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[96] Platinum 30,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[97] 3× Platinum 30,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[98] Platinum 40,000^
Sweden (GLF)[99] 4× Platinum 160,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[100] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[101] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Worldwide January 13, 2017 Digital download Original Republic [28]
United States February 6, 2017 Hot adult contemporary [102]
February 7, 2017 Contemporary hit radio [103]
United Kingdom March 10, 2017 [104]
Worldwide March 24, 2017 Digital download Acoustic Version [29]
Italy April 18, 2017 Contemporary hit radio Original Universal [105]
Worldwide May 5, 2017 Digital download Alan Walker remix Republic [30]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics