A band that pulls no punches either in their sound or their subject matter, Honey Joy’s latest track is a heartfelt and heartbreaking exploration of the damage toxic masculinity does to generation after generation of men.
‘Raising Boys‘ sees the innocence and softness in little boys and laments the cold, hard process they grow through as they are raised to fit the shape of masculinity that an inherently problematic society thrusts upon them. It reminisces about “the softest soul, a loving heart” – evoking the ideas of strength and safety, and juxtaposing them against the damaging things boys are taught to internalise as they grow up. The lyrics plead for a resistance, but the way the two vocal lines wind around each other highlights the futility of it in a culture determined to bend you to its will. As one begs “Don’t change yourself for him”, the other is very aware that the “you” in the narrative is already infected by toxic expectations.
The raw passion of the vocals is heightened by the music. Screaming guitars roll over heavy drums that thrust extra layers of emphasis onto the most profound moments of the song. Riffs whip between the throbbing beat and the swells of energy in the vocals.
‘Raising Boys’ begins and ends with the same phrase: “Did he ever tell you that he wasn’t okay?” It introduces the mission statement of the song perfectly. The callback at the end lingers with you, heavy with unspoken questions. It is loaded with the pressure put on men to bottle up their emotions, to never be seen to cry, to not talk about their feelings in public until it has torn them apart from within. It reinforces the power of the song – making not only the message, but also its importance, impossible to miss.