Ryan Follese is no stranger to the music scene. Previously the front man of Hot Chelle Rae, Follese has now pursued a more “country” sound. He has spent the summer opening for Sam Hunt. His new self-titled album was released on August 18th. The album as a whole displays his undeniable talent.
Follese doesn’t veer far from catchy pop-like hooks, as exemplified throughout the record. In addition, the record is filled with songs that have big production, that, as a result, gives it a fun feel with songs like “Wilder” and “Floats Your Boat” and “No Headlights” and “Roots.” The two leading songs “Lose a Little Sleep” and “Put a Label on It” are perfect to sing along to from sleek melodies to the fresh lyrics. His lyrics are clever – like the way he expresses his obsession with his latest love interest in “Lose a Little Sleep” with lines like, “I keep laying awake thinking of you stealing a kiss playing it cool/ you got me wired/ I’m on fire.”
However, Follese shows that he has a softer, more vulnerable side, too. “Sing It” is a true insight to Follese’s journey as a musician. Standout lines include, “keep playing that guitar until they feel it/ do it cause you love it maybe one day you’ll get lucky/ don’t you ever do it for the girls or money” and “at 21 I hit the road/ some know it all/ that nobody knows/ I never did call home enough.” Furthermore, his power-ballade “Sounds Like You” recounts a lost love in a way that is personal, yet relatable.
Perhaps what stands out most is Follese’s uncanny storytelling abilities. “Summer Like You” sets up the narrative of a summer love with detailed imagery like, “getting lost out where the corn grows/ pulling you into me closer.”
Although most of the production is guitar driven, like songs like “One Thing Right,” Follese is unique in that he doesn’t shy away from pop production. His vocals are strong and help bring the songs to life. Overall, Follese’s self-titled album Ryan Follese is a stunning piece of work that is filled with many highs and lows, but remains consistent in its well-crafted songwriting and emotional delivery.