Track Review

Track Review: Happy 22! // Presley Duyck

Many people begin writing songs and starting bands at a young age, but Presley Duyck may beat them all. The talented singer-songwriter embraced music pre-kindergarten and decided to form a band with kindergarten friends. The problem was these budding musicians couldn’t play instruments. Now, several years later, Presley has the skills and is sharing her unique sound with the masses. Described by Kristina Mondo of Radio Airplay as “…the Avril Lavigne of her generation”, Presley presents a powerful, original and slightly obscure quality in her sound. The latest addition to her discography is ‘Happy 22!’.

Following her well-received debut single ‘Passenger Seat’, ‘Happy 22!’ adopts a high-paced pop sound with evocative content. While the track has a melodic cheerfulness about it, there is a juxtaposition with the lyricism and I think this showcases the young artist’s innovativeness. ‘Happy 22!’ lies somewhere between early 2000s pop-rock, 80s folk and contemporary pop music. Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell, one can imagine quite an eclectic sound and ‘Happy 22!’ certainly delivers. Yet, while the melody is catchy with dynamic guitars and pounding drums, it is the vocal content that makes the song (at least for me).

Inspired by the aftermath of a break-up and her ex-boyfriend’s 22nd birthday, Presley sonically represents the conflicting emotions people feel in these situations. Isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic, it may have been difficult to deal with anxiety-provoking experiences, however, ‘Happy 22!’ is a cathartic means of self-expression. Not only is this track personally intimate, but it translates to the emotions all people feel in the “post-breakup” phase.

Yes, ‘Happy 22!’ has a melancholic quality to its content but this is not the end of the story. Vulnerable and sentimental, Presley reflects on her experience and learns from the situation. Alongside the emotional heartache, she points out how to move on giving the track haunting empowerment. It is this empowerment that demonstrates the kaleidoscopic soundscape not only in melody but also in lyricism. I love it!

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