On April 17th, Adam Doleac released the Famous EP, a six-song compilation featuring several of his recent singles alongside a brand-new song, “I Choose Lonely.” Doleac, who signed to Sony in October of 2019, had spent the past couple of years as an independent act, penning singles such as “Whiskey’s Fine” and “Bigger Than Us,” which found measured success on Sirius XM radio, as well as several strong co-writes with artists such as Darius Rucker (“Don’t”), Hootie & the Blowfish, and Kane Brown.
Now, with the release of the Famous EP, Doleac has brought his recent compositions together under one roof. The resulting body of work is a collection of Doleac’s finest moments across several years of effort in Music City, as well as a glimpse of what may be to come.
The first song on the EP, is the eponymous track, “Famous,” which is undoubtedly Doleac’s greatest commercial success to date. With over twenty-five million streams on Spotify and two weeks at number one on Sirius XM radio last October, the song serves as a strong example of Doleac’s lyrical capabilities and knack for vocal-driven songwriting. At roughly three minutes, “Famous” is a tight, efficiently organized country song: the vocal-centric verses are entertaining and patiently build into a catchy vocal hook that flows naturally into post-chorus and bridge sections. While it’s not my favorite song on the EP, it is undoubtedly well-crafted and exquisitely designed for streaming success: you get the hook just enough to keep the song on your mind without feeling overwhelmed. Another song on the EP, “SOLO,” feels similar in approach. With beds of acoustic guitar and soft vocals in the verses, the song crescendos with the hook, “I don’t wanna be solo,” at almost exactly thirty seconds in, and the rest of the track ebbs and flows from verse to chorus. These two songs are reminiscent of some of Seth Ennis’s recent work such as “Look at You” and “Woke Up in Nashville.” Taken together, these songs are lean and muscular: they structure everything around a clever hook and remove any extraneous instrumental elements or embellishments.
Doleac’s songs, like those of many other recent country artists who have found chart success, prioritize the chorus, thereby catering to streaming audiences and radio listeners in a time when attention spans are limited. Across his EP, Doleac’s song lengths average a tight three-minutes and twenty-two seconds. The newest and longest track, “I Choose Lonely,” comes in at 3:58. Ultimately, one of Doleac’s greatest strengths is his ability to get a point across eloquently and promptly. But make no mistake, his songs aren’t hasty: they simply get to the heart of the matter in an efficient manner; they don’t drag on or belabor a point. My favorite track on the album, “Neon Fools,” serves as a good example. The song begins with lush country instrumentation before picking up speed with Doleac’s opening line: “If I was smart, I would walk out the back door / I wouldn't say, ‘Hey, I'll buy you the drink that you came for.’” And like so many of Doleac’s songs—namely “Mom and Daddy’s Money,” and “Whiskey’s Fine”—rich piano chords build a wistful, achingly raw atmosphere for Doleac’s vocals. Indeed, “Neon Fools” has a compelling chorus and some clever writing as well. I really appreciated the metonymy in the chorus with the line: “Let’s be neon fools and let the neon fool me and you tonight.” Thematically, the song feels reminiscent of another well-crafted song about late night decisions in bars—“I Should Probably Go Now” by Jessi Alexander.
Doleac’s EP contains some anthemic songs such as “I Choose Lonely” and Doleac’s drinking song (and 2017 Sirius XM number three) “Whiskey’s Fine.” But for me, “Neon Fools” and “Famous” retain more personal character and are the true stand out songs on the record. “Mom and Daddy’s Money” is a bit of a strange song: it’s intended as a sentimental dedication to the financial support parents provide but gets wrapped up in material preoccupations such as cars and new shoes. It doesn’t drive home the point Doleac seems to be trying to make, which is that behind “mom and daddy’s money” is a parent’s love. Moreover, the song feels a bit out of place amidst songs about love interests and drinking.
Overall, Doleac’s album is a decent offering. It effectively summarizes his work over the past couple of years and offers a solid new song in “I Choose Lonely.” Many of the songs are catchy and invite revisiting, and the collection presents an interesting view of modern country and where it may go from here.
Written by Brennan White