Julia Michaels is back with an edge, as she pledges vengeance in her latest video for “All Your Exes.” It is perhaps the biggest flex ever, writing a song about how much you wish your boyfriend’s previous lovers did not exist, with said boyfriend. When you are Michaels and your boyfriend is JP Saxe, it means the song in question is destined to not just be a flex but also a smash hit.
Whereas the track starts out soft and sweet, the chorus turns to rock and punk as it features heavy guitars while Michaels sings “I wanna live in a world where all your exes are dead / I wanna kill all the memories that you save in your head.”
It’s an interesting new side of Michaels that we haven’t really seen before. Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at all when she has never shied away from pouring her emotions into her songs. Even when it’s ugly ones like jealousy or insecurities. Yet somehow, Michaels seems more confident than ever as lead singer and lead artist.
She effortlessly makes her way to the intricate and detailed lyricism that has become her trademark: “When your friends tell stories about 2017 / I know there’s parts that they leave out to be considerate of me / Wish I could be blissfully unaware / Of where you used to put your mouth / And who you write your fucking songs about.”
In the accompanying music video, Michaels has a lot of fun dressing up in various disguises and characters in order to expertly gets rid of said exes. It’s murderous and hilarious, as she invites the exes over for dinner in order to kill them. There is a moment where a phone call distracts her from her guests, and one almost slips away. Michaels lets out a “fuck” before catching up with a chainsaw in hand.
At the core of the exaggerated fantasies is of course a relatable sentiment of insecurities about the people who have gone and scarred or broken part of your partner’s heart before you. And that unknown — as scary as it is — belongs in the past for a reason. But sometimes, reason loses to fear. Or, as Michaels dryly remarks in the bridge: “Don’t tell me to make nice, that I should try to empathize / I’m confident I’ve got them accurately demonized / You tell me not to worry, I’m the only thing you see / Well, yeah, I fucking better be.”
The lyrics are a great example of the humor and playfulness Michaels is able to infuse in her music. “All Your Exes” shows Michaels at her best, a confident unrivaled wordsmith, proving once again her musical versatility without ever losing her artistic identity.