To 20-year-old singer/songwriter, Presley Duyck from Dallas, TX, a single is a body of work that expresses an experience or topical moment in her life, not just a random collection of chords and words. Nowhere is this ethos more present than on her new single, “Happy 22!” Listening to the song it’s easy to imagine how much reflection, and emotion she put into the organization of it. The song is an accumulation of all her thoughts and feelings while considering the occasion of her ex’s birthday after an intense relationship that turned sour. She initially questioned herself on what to do that day – post a funny pic on Instagram, or send a text? And what would she say if she did? Not being able to figure it out, Presley ultimately decided to write a song instead.
For her new single, Presley Duyck pulled in the producing chops of Chris Garcia, the guitar work of Nick Lashley (former Alanis Morrisette guitarist), as well as the skills of mixing engineer Tom Polce, and mastering engineer Dave McNair. This A-league team made sure that “Happy 22!” was supercharged with the necessary sonic elements to make it soar, while Presley takes perfect care of the execution, uncovering a collection of wishes, regrets and wounds.
There’s strength to be found in vulnerability, and even with all the angst that comes with being 20 in this world, Presley Duyck stands strong on “Happy 22!” as she unfolds her narrative with a nuance of bravado and honesty. The song succeeds since it makes use of a superb production team, as well as the singer’s unique vocal ability and instinct for storytelling.
While Presley Duyck has had a successful sounding single before, namely “Passenger Seat”, this latest tune makes excellent use of a voice that sounds like it belongs on Top 40 radio. But don’t be fooled, the song is not simply a wannabe summer hit, it runs much deeper than that. As a result, the track dives into the growing young woman behind Presley, and it makes some bold and powerful statements along the way.
“Happy 22!” is a refreshingly honest portrait of a young woman navigating her sentiments, as she blends elements of pop and rock into her sound. Perfectly attuning the musical accompaniment to the sentiment, this song is the kind of indie pop-rock number that sinks into your head with ease. “Happy 22!” revels in its guitar-driven rhythmic bombast, letting the delicate sounds twinkle, and the snarling edges grind harder.
Throughout, it’s the song’s lyrical soul that shines dominantly, as Presley Duyck shows off the deepest and most intense parts of her mindset, through a surefooted melody and incredibly sharp wordplay. “Happy 22!” finds a way to weave together emotions, sounds, and shows off Presley’s skill as a singer and a songwriter.
She brings enigma, dynamism, and allure to the song. Vocally, Presley Duyck delivers a solid performance, with her most expressive moments arriving on the chorus. She oscillates between restraint, and more passionate, biting moments.
This is a great song, in every way, for Presley Duyck. From the onset, she exhibits attitude and shows personality, elevating her craft to the next level. Without question, “Happy 22!” marks yet another crowning achievement for the singer/songwriter.