Johnny Orlando Ends ‘The Ride’ With “Close to You” & “Thinking of Me,” a Poignant & Vulnerable Production

Johnny Orlando © Kyla Mah
Johnny Orlando © Kyla Mah
Rising pop superstar Johnny Orlando’s multi-installment project continues with the release of ‘The Ride: Part 3,’ whose songs “Close to You” and “Thinking of Me” tell the musical journey of a first love.
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Stream: “Thinking of Me” – Johnny Orlando

Desire is not limited by time, and we all yearn for something whether through the lens of hope or desperation. Whether it’s a memory suspended in the past or a dream for the future—we all carry moments with us until we are told to let them go.

The Ride is an evolution of loving someone through all the emotions, good and bad. Part 1 included tracks “July” and “Boyfriend” while Part 2 has “A Man Like Me” and “Party for Two.” Both releases have a sense of lingering nostalgia, regret, and reflection. Orlando sings of many missed moments and characterizes a sense of guilt in not being enough.

The Ride: Part 3 - Johnny Orlando
The Ride: Part 3 – Johnny Orlando

Released December 8 via Universal Music Canada, The Ride: Part 3 is the end of the journey, where “Close to You” and “Thinking of Me” are a final reflection of this lost love. The Ride isn’t just about the emotions faced, but how to portray them through experience. At 20 years old, Orlando carries deep introspection as an artist. His pieces romanticize yet have realistic reflection.

“Close to You” has dreamy instrumentals, with electric guitar and a dramatic drums that complements Orlando’s airy vocals. The opening lyrics are longing:

I wanna see you tonight
It’s not what we need but it would feel nice
I wish we could re-write the end
There’s a couple of things we left unsaid
Johnny Orlando © Kyla Mah
Johnny Orlando © Kyla Mah

Orlando expresses a wish that things ended differently or even that they could go back to how they were. He leads into the chorus with an instrumental climax:

If I were to die would you lay next to me
If these are my last words then baby you’re the best of me
How ever many miles
How ever long it takes to find my way back home to you
I know it’s been awhile

The songwriting is clear in emotion and describes the impact of this hopeless desire. The production’s build-up does a great job of enhancing the lyrical aspect of the piece. Orlando closes with a dead-end statement:

But anytime I’ve found someone
They don’t come close to you

Though the line holds a lot of sadness, it also is conclusive. Almost like an acceptance that there won’t be another moment or person like what he has experienced before – and maybe that’s okay.

“Thinking of Me” transitions from intense instrumentals to stripped down guitar paired with Orlando’s wistful tone. Light bass steadies the piece, and the chorus confirms this sense of acceptance that was expressed in “Close to You”:

I know that we weren’t meant to be
But you left fingerprints on my memories
Yeah I hope you’re living your dream
And this life has become what you thought it’d be

Everyone has had experiences with different people that have gone in and out of their lives—and Orlando writes in a way that is relatable yet personal to each listener. As he sings in the last line of the chorus, “But now and then I hope you’re thinking of me,” there is a final release of emotion. Though he is bittersweet about the situation, it’s almost like a goodbye to past moments and the possibility of future ones.

Johnny Orlando © Kyla Mah
Johnny Orlando © Kyla Mah

Johnny Orlando shows mature recognition in his last feature, and it is the perfect way to close his three-part series.

Like its name, The Ride is certainly an experience. It is a collection of complex emotions and layers that Orlando expresses in a straightforward yet thoughtful way.

After taking on the world in his latest tour, Orlando closed the North American leg in October and performed in Asia throughout November. By February, Orlando will finish off in Europe and have his final show in Dublin this March.

Support Johnny Orlando and stream The Ride: Pt. 3 on all platforms. Here’s to happy listening!

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:: stream/purchase The Ride: Part 3 here ::
:: connect with Johnny Orlando here ::
Stream: ‘The Ride: Part 3’ – Johnny Orlando

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The Ride: Part 3 - Johnny Orlando

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