Enter the world of Roman. (artist name for Thomas Foschino) as we dive into his 12-track debut album, Own World (20 Pages), which is a musically varied collection of tracks that covers rap, hip-hop, both modern and old-school pop, alternative rock, and lo-fi music genres. Beautiful pop melodies and expertly crafted rhyme schemes create the binding of this emotional, heartfelt, and honest music story delving into loss, love, self-reflection, life's transitions, new explorations and more. In a way, the album title, Own World (20 Pages), is quite fitting for this collection of tracks, as it is extremely easy to see each track as its own unique page/entity, which makes for a listening experience that continues to intrigue. Roman. recently celebrated his album release with a debut event at Hamilton Restaurant & Bar in Brookline, MA, surrounded by Boston friends, fans and classmates.
The album kicks off strongly and grabs interest immediately, nailing modern production and songwriting values. Its genre is an extremely melodic spin on hip-hop, and then brings in a pleasant surprise with pop tracks, successfully bridging both audiences. Starting with the title track, “20 Pages”, which is the shortest track on the album at exactly two minutes, the listener is immediately met with a smooth melodic hook and the relatable lyrical topic of isolation. “20 Pages” then proceeds to develop into a full-scale rap song 30 seconds in, which showcases Roman’s introspective lyrical flow and broad vocal talents. The album actually makes you feel like you are listening to many different artists, when Roman. is the vocalist singing in all songs, and has featured singers on two tracks. Through this first track, Roman. establishes his songwriting and lyrical talents, as well as his ability to pull the listener into his own world.
The second track on the album, “I Don’t Know What to Tell You”, is an incredible example of Roman’s diverse musical abilities, as this track effortlessly displays a perfect blend of pop melodies and 90's rap. While the rhyme schemes in the first track, “20 Pages” were reminiscent of artists such as Eminem, “I Don’t Know What to Tell You”, takes it back in time even further by utilizing rhyme schemes that are reminiscent of rappers such as Notorious B.I.G. and Ice Cube. “I Don’t Know What to Tell You”, is one of those tracks that feels like a love letter to the greatest rap artists of an entire generation, and could very easily help Roman. remind fans of those artists that hip-hop of that caliber is still very much alive and kicking. Roman. has a vocal style which smoothly flows at a stable pace, and never once do you miss a word throughout the 12-track experience.
Track three, “Rain and Snow” brings a shift in tempo to a melodic treasure. It is one of the standout tracks on the entire album and shows quite a different side of Roman. taken from his own experiences of leaving home for the first time. “Rain and Snow” showcases the pop influence in Roman’s music at its greatest height with stunning vocal melodies and instrumental work that is reminiscent of Grammy level singer songwriters. If how talented this artist is was not made clear by the last two tracks, then “Rain and Snow” is the potential breakthrough song that you have been waiting for, and one that is guaranteed to attract listeners from all backgrounds. The impactful lyric, “Got to the ocean and thought I’d sink, but I swam”, confirms the doubt and survival that existed on this new chapter in life. One favorite lyric, “the Rain was your mind, and the love was the snow,” confirms the acceptance of his new world and environment.
The pop/R&B track “I Take a Hint”, continues with a more pop-oriented sound consisting of incredible harmonies and personal lyrics about feelings in a new relationship with concerns about being able to avoid inconsistencies in the future, this time with a lo-fi influence that will get listeners tapping their feet to the groove right from the start.
Track five, “Down”, marks a shift in sound from the slower, pop-oriented style back to the hip-hop centered sound it started with, adding some lovely new elements to this sound in the process. With a faster rhythm section and rhyme schemes, “Down” represents a pleasant change of pace for the album that keeps the listener excited and wanting more.
Track six, “Mortality”, the first single release on the album, is unique in that it features a female singer, Ella Shreiner, also a Berklee School of Music student, which results the melding of two stunning soulful vocal performances. While “Mortality” retains the same pace of “Down”, this song adds a more intense edge musically and vocally, allowing the listener to hear Roman. truly let loose.
With track seven, "Avenger", there is a shift in musical style from the fast-paced grooves of “Down” and “Mortality”, to an atmospheric, almost ambient and vacant, cut that shines through because of how different it is in comparison to what the listener has heard so far. It is here where Roman. reminds the listener of his musical versatility and his willingness to experiment with different soundscapes. You feel the sense of disbelief and loss, and will to be strong and carry on reflected in the lyrics, "I'll be great, I'll be great, I'll be great, for both of us. Third day in a row I woke up wasted. Almost forgot how the pain even tasted. I didn't understand that I couldn't even reach you."
Track eight, “Tundra”, featuring rapper Funder, is an explosive bombardment of rapid-fire rapping that drives the energy of this album to the peak of the tallest musical mountain while track nine, “Moon”, shows yet another change in style to a more modern pop sound that could easily stand out among current pop radio icons such as Justin Bieber.
“Heart of Gold” shows a return to the more energetic and buzzing high octane sound found on previous tracks like “Mortality” and “Down”, once again featuring blazing rhyme schemes with the addition of a speedy jazz-oriented guitar track and bass. “Heart of Gold was an early break out song on total streams. The hook driving chorus,“Got nothing but a heart of gold, got nothing but a heart of gold yeah, yeah”, is a rhythmic flow that sucks you in and gets you wanting to join in the party.
Track 11, “Call Me Roman” is another standout song from Own World (20 Pages), which features some of Roman’s strongest vocal melodies and a perfect alternative rock instrumental with a blazing guitar solo. With this song, Roman once again displays his ability to dial things back and pull the listener in with his incredible songwriting abilities.
Own World (20 pages) closes with the sequel to the opening track “20 Pages”, “20 Pages Pt.2”. The closing song proves to be the perfect ending to this incredibly emotional album and reflects Roman’s desire and determination to prove himself as a true artist. The song marks a return to the more atmospheric side of Roman that we have heard bits and pieces of throughout the album and embraces that sound with one of the strongest melodic hooks on the entire album. “20 Pages Pt.2” sees Roman. then end the album in one last rapid-fire rap verse that truly displays his confidence as an artist, as well as his determination to overcome any obstacles in his way. If there is one thing Roman proves with Own World (20 Pages), it is that he is not only a true artist to the core, but one that possesses the songwriting and vocal abilities needed to bring a breath of fresh air to hip-hop and pop today.
The strength of the arrangements on Own World (20 Pages) is undeniably strong with Roman. having a clear understanding of how to keep fans interested with the perfect balance of structure and unpredictability. Production-wise, Own World (20 pages) is perfect in the sense that the listener is able to hear the infectious percussive grooves, the beautifully constructed chord progressions, the blazing guitar solos, and Roman’s wide vocal range all come together to form one musical entity in which every element benefits from the others. The listener can hear that Roman writes for the sake of the song as a whole instead of forcing individual musical elements to outshine others. This ultimately proves to be the greatest strength of Own World (20 Pages), and the reason why this album has the potential to amass high streams and be a true breakout hit.
Roman. set his goals early on in his college years at Berklee College of Music, to produce and release and album before his senior year, and he succeeded in fulfilling his ambitious plan well ahead of plans. The album was an exploration for Roman. to cover the many types of music he loves. Roman. said a year ago, “I’m going to make an entire album and not stop no matter what. My mission is to gain some kind of a fan base and be respected and viewed as an artist. not a drummer, rapper, guitarist, vocalist, or bassist because I’m going to do whatever I feel is fit for that specific song and that specific story to express is properly in my music.” Thomas has been performing since he was a youngster, starting with drums and transitioning to bass, guitar, and vocals. He also performs with his brother Paul in a singer-songwriter pop duo The Foschino Brothers. The duo performs throughout Long Island and NYC, and frequent spots like The Bitter End and local piano bars. Now with both brothers at Berklee School of music with Paul a freshman and Thomas a junior, they have enjoyed performing at local spots in Boston including Faneuil Hall, Nash Bar and Loretta’s Last Call.
Own World (20 Pages) is a stunning, multi-faceted achievement. Roman. follows his own direction and creates music that doesn’t follow any uniformity, expectation, or conventional pathway as he continues to cut extraneous elements out of his songwriting and drills closer to the core of his unique style. Every track has its own fit, and no two songs have the same vibe. It makes it a welcome experience, as you are excited to hear what follows next, and it is an album where one can confidently predict all songs will gain traction and see streaming success. This is an artist with extreme depth, and you can’t help but wonder how long this album concept has been brewing, and how his vision and strategic direction came to life so quickly, all songs fitting so perfectly together. Listeners will be enamored with the genius of it all with the genre switches to the vocal styles, to the album’s lyrical substance from start to finish.-Performers on the Go, LLC
Written by Performers on the Go, LLC/Patricia Duffey and Maximilian Wentz