If you haven’t listened to “My Boy” in a while, prepare for some intense feels. Whether it’s the studio version on Behind the Light or Phillip Phillips and Dave Eggar’s acoustic recording, there’s no escaping the powerful, melancholic pull of this song.
Released in 2014 as part of three bonus tracks on the deluxe version of Behind the Light, “My Boy” represents a true leap in Phillip Phillips’ writing, not only musically but emotionally as well. It’s a song that invites you not so much to listen to it as to inhabit it: we enter its space and its mood and for a few minutes we are fully immersed in its world. The circular riff on the guitar and the repetition of the refrain “everything will be better now, my boy” are almost hypnotic, the spell only broken by Dave Eggar’s warm, enveloping cello, coming in to lift us up, if only briefly.
We think “My Boy” belongs in our top seven list because this was only Phillip’s second album and though the pressure was on to continue producing the anthemic, uplifting songs that had made him into a household name, the “Homes” and “Gone Gone Gones,” Phillip showed he had much more to say with his music, the result being an album that was the opposite of one note and where each song felt, in a way, as a small world unto ifself. “My Boy” is a perfect example of this, a song like no other in the album and like no other in his catalogue.
“My Boy” stands out thanks to its deep beauty, the elegance of its string arrangement and Phillip’s heartfelt, gorgeous vocals. It stands out further by being an example of Phillip’s ability to distill complex emotions–fear, doubt, sadness–into song, letting us feel, and better, hear, what we often cannot express in real life.
Read our previous review of My Boy.