REVIEW: Was BoyWithUke a Fluke?


Matthew Heinsen

BoyWithUke’s album “Serotonin Dreams” can be listened to on Spotify.

BoyWithUke is the classic indie-pop success story of a singer songwriter pursuing his dreams, but do his tracks deserve the hype a year after reaching breakout success?

Central to his music is, of course, his ukulele which he often crafts upbeat melodies that contrast with harsh emotions of his tracks. In interviews, it is clear that BoyWithUke is a driven artist who writes and performs songs inspired by personal experiences and emotions with a talent for crafting memorable lyrics.

Those memorable lyrics have been a sizable component of his success, in no small part thanks to TikTok. The combination of his song “Toxic” and the short form content on the platform is often cited as the start of his meteoric rise.

However, I wanted to follow up on if his tracks still held up after some of the hype surrounding this artist had died down.

BoyWithUke’s top songs are “Toxic”, “Understand”, and “Out of Reach”.

Right off the bat, I recognized “Toxic” not just from previous listening but from the very popular TikTok audio. For me, it was hard to analyze this piece as I already had an ear for the roughly 15 second version on TikTok. The phenomenon of pieces of music or artists being discovered through TikTok has been described as “ruin[ing] music”. Beyond the song’s use in pop culture, the song itself does have quite the catchy beat and clearly heartfelt lyrics.

“Understand” was similarly ukulele driven, though not suffering from as much as the TikTok fame. Beyond the signature vocal and ukulele powered sound, “Out of Reach” switches things up to an electric guitar about halfway through. This lends credence to BoyWithUke being able to stand the test of time and be an artist who has multiple talents.

Another aspect to my confidence in BoyWithUke’s career is his catalog. His success is attributed to the proliferation of “Toxic” which is featured on his extended play Faded. However, BoyWithUke had released two previous albums which indicate that he is likely not a one-hit wonder. Research released by Johnson at Cornell University indicates that sustained success is dependent on a developed repertoire of tracks before more widespread success.