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  • Victoria James

Review: "hey boy" - Michael Isaak

As we grow older, we look back at the past and wonder what we would say to our younger selves if given the opportunity. Some people even write letters to the past or future versions of themselves. Michael Isaak, a veteran of vulnerability, is no different. His new single, “hey boy” is a message to his younger self, letting him know everything will be okay. Writing a letter to a past or future version of yourself can be heavy but also therapeutic. Listening to a song that lets you reflect on life experiences and celebrate your accomplishments and growth might encourage you to write yourself a letter as well. If you feel stuck in life but want to heal your inner child, listening to “hey boy” might help calm your nerves and heal you, too.

Michael Isaak emulates authenticity by incorporating background noise as “hey boy” begins, paired with a relaxed repeated guitar strum. There is faint chatter, laughter, and movement in the background to create the illusion of a crowded room, but it does not distract from the song. Instead, it creates a welcoming atmosphere, assisted by Michael’s vocals to embrace you like a warm hug. Michael layers his vocals to create an intimate yet dreamy effect. The lyrics are personal, almost like the words came straight from a private journal. The song’s mixing is simple and equally effective, as he captures our hearts with a raw, soothing sound. The guitar and quiet drums don’t overwhelm the track but instead strengthen the atmosphere created by the background noise. Artists don’t use real background noise often, but the subtle addition of genuine human interaction in “hey boy” is comforting because it reminds us that we are not alone.

Michael Isaak didn’t become an indie pop singer-songwriter immediately. He was a Princeton neuroscience student before pursuing a music career full-time. Born in an Egyptian-American family, he was introduced to Arabic music at an early age. He is also a self-taught instrument player and music producer. Michael loves modern indie folk and pop artists like Sufjan Stevens and Phoebe Bridgers, who have influenced the music he creates. His upcoming EP, Forever Is A Scary World draws from his experience growing up in a religious Egyptian-American community and explores themes of honoring tradition and seeking independence. He released a few singles in 2022 and the EP’s lead single, “okay with this” in September 2023.

Written By Victoria James


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