I'm Right Here
Unlike most contestants on The X Factor, the first season's third-place winner, Chris Rene, comes from a historically musical family. His grandfather was Leon Rene, a famed songwriter who churned out such hits as "Rockin' Robin" and the doo-wop ballad “Gloria." In his first recording for Simon Cowell’s label Syco, Chris opens with the modern-day R&B pop hit “Chains,” an uplifting and amorous serenade that bounces with beachy buoyancy. As Rene had a hand in writing this song, it’s easier to believe him when he sings, “This ain’t no fairy tale/I made lifelong friends in jail/I’ll love them till the day I die.” (When he auditioned for The X Factor, he was a trash collector who'd just finished a 30-day program for alcohol and drug dependency.) “Rockin’ with You” is more rooted in contemporary pop, but it’s mixed with plenty of hip-hop swagger in the beats. Over this, Rene soulfully sings about rising above his past by looking toward the future with hope. The EP closes with “Young Homie,” a song Rene wrote and auditioned with.