Julia Michaels took stock of the petty side of romance during a performance of new single “Worst in Me” on The Tonight Show on Monday.
“Worst in Me” catalogs the envy and spite that seep slowly into relationships. “It’s almost like I’ve gotten so used to resentment that every annoying little thing you say has lost its effect,” Michaels sings. “It’s almost like it’s made you a little bit bitter when I don’t always react the way you expect.”
On The Tonight Show, a pianist and drummer laid out a sparse melody and light rhythm. Michaels played with volume and tone, inserting little vocal hiccups and audible breaths in between lines and ending verses with bursts of vibrato.
“Worst in Me” appeared on Nervous System, a seven-song collection that Michaels released in July after her debut single “Issues” climbed to Number 11 on the Hot 100. Michaels got her start as a writer for the stars, and “Worst in Me” was co-written with Justin Tranter, who also served as her partner on smashes like Selena Gomez’s “Good for You” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.” “Worst in Me” was produced by Mattman & Robin, a Swedish hit-making duo with credits on DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” and Imagine Dragons’ “Believer.”
Michaels also sat with Jimmy Fallon for a short interview; her host seemed overwhelmed by her presence. “I could listen to your songs streaming in my head forever,” he said. Michaels, in contrast, said she rarely got starstruck. “When I’m in the studio with someone, we’re all human – we all cry the same, we all bleed the same,” she explained.