Feature: The Anatomy of 're: 21' with BOLEYN

Friday, June 14, 2019

This week saw Sydney-based BOLEYN come through with his second single 're: 21'. Written across the space of a year, the single is a follow-up to his debut track 'The Revisionist’. 're: 21' sees him reflect on his adolescent and early-20s, including finding his place in the world, anxiety, mental health, drugs and hook-up culture. Learn more about the single below.

I wrote ‘re: 21’… intermittently over about a year. I wrote one verse and left it alone for ages, but I’d keep coming back to it, adding things and subtracting things until it began to take shape. It was probably one of the hardest songs for me to write on the EP, not just because of how vulnerable it is but because I never seemed to be able to find the right words for what I was trying to say. I tried to work around it a lot, taking lines from ‘re: 21’ and repurposing them for other songs, but those Frankenstein-tracks never seemed to feel as right as the original. It took a lot of work to sit down and think about how best to capture the vignettes I was trying to paint lyrically, but it was worth it in the end.

The story behind ‘re: 21’ is… all about the disconnect I felt living life in my early twenties – the anxiety & pressure in contrast with the idealised youth I heard about so often but couldn’t seem to find. Each verse is a snapshot of things I was dealing with or issues I was facing when I was 21.

My favourite lyric is… “streetlights caress strips of bare flesh / torn over and over and over again / leaving pieces of myself stuck between the rib bones / of every lover that I’ve ever known.”

It was made…  Because I couldn’t find any representation for what I was going through in contemporary pop, outside of old favourites like Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning or Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, I didn’t really have a touch-point in a pop space for what I was feeling. So I decided to write it myself.

My main inspiration was… Bright Eyes’ Lua, the original voice memo I sent to my producers is just me strumming my acoustic guitar in a very empty room, which is very similar sonically to Lua. I wanted to take a similar concept and push it through a pop-focused filter and see what came out

It sounds best when… you feel like feeling things.

Listen to 're: 21' by BOLEYN:

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