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The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

Zach Bryan releases new EP

Country singer and songwriter comes out with Boys of Faith
Zach+Bryans+newest+album%2C+Boys+of+Faith%2C+was+released+on+Sep+22.+
Warner Records Press
Zach Bryan’s newest album, “Boys of Faith,” was released on Sep 22.

Rating: 4.5/5

Oklahoma singer and songwriter Zach Bryan released surprise EP Boys of Faith on Sep. 22, featuring music stars Bon Iver and Noah Kahan. This came just a few weeks following the release of Bryan’s fourth studio album self-titled Zach Bryan, which debuted on August 25th.

Bryan is known for his heartfelt, earnest country ballads, which can be frequently seen topping Billboard charts. His popularity broke through with his third-studio album American Heartbreak, which was released in 2022 and debuted at number one on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. He is best known for his breakout track, “Something in the Orange,” a somber anthem that sings about a relationship not yet over.

Boys of Faith is composed of five songs, which appear to have been recently recorded in the past couple weeks. Bryan teased the release of this new music through clips posted on his social media.

“[I] locked myself in a studio all week, wrote myself through a notebook, walked around with people [and] went campin,” Bryan said in his Instagram post.

The album opens with “Nine Ball,” which tells the story of a complex father-son relationship. Through bouncy guitar chords, Bryan sings about the tense relationship he held as a twelve-year-old adolescent with a father immersed in gambling habits. Following the patterns of his previously recorded songs, Bryan sings with vulnerability, delivering a narrative melody that is genuine and relatable.

His next track is accompanied by popular folk-artist Noah Kahan, who has gathered intense popularity since the release of his third studio album Stick Season, which came out last October. Fans have been eagerly anticipating this collaboration, as the two artists have recently amassed similar fan bases. They both are known to sing with longing towards past relationships, as they do in their song, “Sarah’s Place,” which includes lyrics reminiscent of memories made at a special place.

Boys of Faith (feat. Bon Iver) starts off with the sound of dogs barking– a theme that has made Bryan’s music unique and notable. He often includes background noises in the tracks of his songs to make listeners feel more connected to his music. His deep vocals are thoroughly explored in this song, complimented by Bon Iver’s distinctive electronic accompaniment. The title-track is a blend of the two’s complex music styles, creating a captivating and heartfelt hymn. While the lyricism stays true to Bryan’s style, the instrumentals are more alike of Bon Iver’s work– the heavy piano and almost haunting harmony create a piece that is more striking and euphoric compared to Bryan’s other works. Following this comes “Deep Satin,” another song of yearning for past memories and relationships. This song is more aggressive and energetic compared to the others in the album, but the theme of longing and remembrance is present all the same.

The album concludes with “Pain, Sweet, Pain,” which follows Bryan’s reflective journey of embracing the challenges of life. This finisher effectively wraps up the album, allowing listeners to revel in its introspective lyricism, a refreshing note that follows the first four songs that center around longing and remembering painful memories. “Pain, Sweet, Pain” showcases Bryan’s adaptability to learn from his past experiences to embark on a personal growth journey, again emphasizing his true down-to-earth nature as a songwriter.

Boys of Faith offers nostalgic odes to the past and former relationships through sincere and exposed lyrics. The EP provides beautiful and meaningful narratives of Bryan’s personal life, staying true to his praised persona of authenticity. Through bittersweet melodies, Bryan is able to once again create a magnetic realm that allows listeners to bask in mesmerizing and nostalgic harmonies. His carefully-picked collaborations with Noah Kahan and Bon Iver deliver intricate lyrical pieces that captivate audiences. Bryan’s quick release of these five songs just less than a month after the album, Zach Bryan, has proven that his rapid success is more than well-deserved. Once again, Bryan’s soulful compilation has established his raw talent, making him someone to keep eyes on in the country music industry.

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    EleanorSep 23, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    This is a fantastic article!

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