Written Maria Arroyo
YouTube cover artist, Caleb Hyles, is stepping into a whole new world with his debut album, In One Breath. Over the years, he has created a loyal fanbase that continues to stand by him in his new adventure as an original songwriter and performer. In One Breath has been best described as a “unique blend of theatrical, pop-punk, alt-rock, and ballad moments tied together to create a soundscape that will entice fans from first listen.”
Hyles shares that the listeners will “ask questions, face doubt, and find comfort,” and in return, allow fans to “connect more deeply with Caleb” than they have ever been able to before. Hyles says, “The two biggest themes of the album are ‘time’ and ‘memory.’ It’s crazy to me how both feel so fleeting yet are some of the most integral pieces of our existence… So much of who we are is shaped by what we remember and what we’re doing currently with the time we have left.”
Hyles’s first track, “Not My Own,” immediately hits us with his strong storytelling skills and musical talents. His musical theater style is not something new to those who have been around since the YouTube days, but hearing it with his own music is definitely something special. This song’s chorus is impactful and powerful, making it a pretty big highlight for the song. The contrast in the bridge and the rest of the song is exactly what I love in songs and he downright PERFECTED it!
“On My Own” highlights a more rock-esque style, similar to Rent – The Musical. His determination to highlight his different influences is unbelievable well done. Additionally, the contrast between the seriousness of the lyrics and the uplifting and playful feel of the instrumentation helps both songwriters and listeners better digest more serious topics like Hyles tackles in this song. This is probably one of the most relatable songs on the album, and I know, personally, this song hit really close to home, and I can do nothing but thank Hyles for bringing this narrative to life.
Hyles’s tracks “Goodbye, Monday” and “Stay” both have a strong percussive drive that pushes the songs forward. They both present a more dominant side of his emotions that really round out the overall sound of the album. The track, “Privilege,” creates a beautiful, chordal tension that is a high point of this song. He manages to create the perfect space for these dissonant chords to grow into a beautiful and satisfying release. If that wasn’t enough, the constant building up of the voices towards the end of the song just made this song soar higher than I thought was possible.
“Sometimes You Just Forget Things” mixes his talent for beautifully woven harmonies and his pop/musical theater style. Cleverly written, the ending couldn’t have been better for this song, but you’ll have to listen to it to know what I mean.
We push into a bit of a different direction with his next track, “Wasting Time.” I’m thinking to myself, “Did Caleb Hyles just relive his teenage angst emo phase in this song? Because if so, I’m here for it and I love it!” Another note: if anyone is planning on bringing a Rent 2 – The Musical, to life, please make sure Hyles is on the project because I don’t think a soul would be disappointed in that collaboration!
His next track, “Survival In Disguise,” is another strong one that sent goosebumps through my entire body. Personally, this is a song that I connected with on a more emotional and spiritual level. Another song that really pulled at my heartstrings is “Leave a Light On For Me.” I imagine this is one of the most personal looks into Hyles’s life which really made me cling to it so hard. After these two songs? All I can muster is a thank you to Caleb Hyles for sharing this song with the world over my tears.
After my crying session, we got back to the album, another gem titled “I’ll Name Her Song” came out. This song did its job with attention to detail when it came to delivering a true and honest vocal performance. Just like in all of Hyles‘ covers of our favorite Disney ballads, we get to feel the song like we haven’t in a long time. This song is both emotional and vulnerable, which leads us into another personal chapter of his life.
“Amber and Rain” sees Hyles collaborate with a vocalist, Jonathan Young, to bring this cinematic track to life. Their chemistry is nothing short of blissful. The final track of this long-awaited album is “In One Breath.” It was the perfect way to close out the album. It was hopeful, emotionally driven, and vocally stimulating. The concept that “life is a never-ending battle” lives strong in this song. Hyles brings a ton of different influences and styles together that highlight every aspect of his musical talents. His ability to translate how he feels into a cohesive song through his songwriting skills and vocal performance is nothing short of incredible.
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