comme des garçons (like the boys)
“My skin is very young/But my heart is very old,” sings Isaac Dunbar on “suicide,” an immersive, humid song about the agony of teendom and finding the will to push through it. It would be easy to slip into cliche here, but Dunbar is vivid and poetic, filling his canvas with images of loneliness that are gripping and specific: fear in his lungs, purple fingers, lips and tongues. The Massachusetts singer is only 17, a fact that becomes increasingly baffling as you make your way through his sophisticated sophomore EP, which is filled with dense electronics, clear-eyed lyricism, and Auto-Tune flourishes. “makeup drawer" and “comme des garçons” present like classic teen-pop tunes—all driving rhythms, big hooks, and synthesizer sparkle—but are filled with defiance, rejecting normative ideas about sexuality and masculinity in praise of glamorous self-love. Elsewhere, he shares bright, queer pop lullabies (“boy”) and aching reflections on first love (“scorton’s creek”), painting an intimate and evocative picture of his journey into adulthood.