Opening with the strum of church chords, Lonely Boy’s latest EP is a sacrilegious R&B that meditates on the heartache created by love, with added sonic icing that is both spiritually and emotionally cathartic and healing. Lonely Boy sings ‘’If I was your man baby… I would never put nobody above you… I turn to you every time you are my love.’’ Lonely Boy then switches blades with lyrics that spiral on the worship of the female body ‘’one hand on the neck, one hand on the front.” The worship of the physical and the emotional create a strong core of R&B musical storytelling in Lonely Boy’s debut EP.
The overall feel of the EP is balladesque, of conflict and compromise, about latent heartbreak, memory, and nostalgia. On a recent TikTok, Lonely Boy promoted his new EP as “guaranteed to improve sex life and communication skills.” While he underplays the sheer musical talent, for a newcomer to the music scene, the EP contains the boyish innocence of Usher’s Confessions, the soulful synergies of Legend’s Get Lifted, and the narrative tensions of Ye’s 808 and Heartbreak. As a debut EP, it is unforgivable: it’s just so good.
Like his forebearers, Lonely Boy produces an unholy trinity of songs that walk a narrative tightrope between the sinner and the saint, the heartbreaker and the heartbroken. It’s Not U it’s Me is jagged, superstitious, and sexually jealous, capturing the toxicity of a love that isn’t working. “Baby your insecure but you project on me.’’ The song takes on a confessional and devotional attitude, and contains insecurity and private terrors, providing empathy towards the self-imposed issues of masculinity and ego. ‘’Baby I’m toxic” is perhaps one of the most memorable lines of Lonely People Vol 2.
The artwork is that of a sword, like something out of the King Arthur mythologies. Lonely Boy seems to be creating his own musical world, carving his own mythos by building his own castle in the sky. Lonely Boy’s strategy seems to be to suffuse emotional experience with devotion to the art form, letting him create the dual feeling of tight creative control and emotional release.
The final song features a chatty indirect interlude “It’s best coming from me, honesty is the best quality, I ain’t know what you’re dealing with.” Throughout the EP Lonely Boy picks a fight with his own reflection, trying to reach some form of emotional truth. Yet there seems to be something holding him back in his songs (an uncertainty of himself? The fear of commitment? A mixture of longing and loneliness?) As a musician this makes him more exciting, makes him more of a challenge, and I believe he has a lot to bring to the table.
Listen to the EP below!