I've not watched Glee since it's first episode of it's first season years ago. But hey, Darren Criss, Lea Michele and of course, the late Cory Monteith. The question remains: can one of \television's beloved stars make it big with a debut album?
So if you've read the Rolling Stone review of Louder by Lea Michele, let's be honest, the album isn't some jazz, maldisfunctional EDM ruin that comes out blasting with pop affectionate vocals talking about love. On the contrary, the album does support itself well enough to state that it's a good album, but again, that's really all there is. Not entirely sophisticated nor having the traditional songs that kind of surround the likes of Katy Perry or Demi Lovato, Lea's new album does take some of her songs in a different direction and in a balanced way. Not amazing, not dire but just well fenced.
However, that's half a mistake considering the album is very safe on the topics. While (obviously) the album is orbiting around the main subject of love and mainly of the death of her boyfriend, the lyrics are very straight to the point and doesn't necessarily dwell on it nor beat around the bush. Some songs such as Burn With You and Thousand Needles portray the sounds that Lea herself is singing about, and there's no other way to it as well. With that saying, it isn't necessarily a bad thing considering the album does have great writing on many occasions.
Spear-headed (mainly) from Sia's writing on some tracks, such as Cannonball, the lead single, the song itself connects lyrically. But I've always had a problem with the lead single, with it being that it felt too much for Lea. As everyone knows from Sia's vocal range, the song is going to be high octave with growing vocals. When it came to Lea, it felt strange during the chorus that didn't necessarily fit with the song entirely. I could be nitpicking, but the song just didn't work and it became easily forgotten for me. However, the other songs of the album eventually shined through a small crevice that made the album emotionally toned, and it's probably a good reason why the album is impressive wholesale and not just track-by-track.
Take and give, Lea's vocals are not impressive, not by a long stretch. But what she does on the upscale, is that she provides the emotional undertone that most pop stars don't usually express from or have a hard time doing so. One of the songs in particular includes Katy Perry's 'almost-made-it-to-emotional' track Unconditionally. Coupled with simply bad songwriting, Perry's version just simplifies Prism to make it seem exotic and free. However, Louder is camp free. In camp free, I mean that it's much less exaggerated and just flows with the track rather than succumb to it on a level that precedes that of Prism or the likes of other mainstream female pop albums. This makes the album much better on a large scale, and some tracks boost it greatly.
On My Way, Battlefield, Don't Let Go and the co-written song with Sia If You Say So takes the album to a different level, and that's one of the reasons why the album is simply great. Yes, it does feel as though Lea 'over-sings' on some occasions (Cannonball, Burn With You, You're Mine), apart from that, her vocals aren't that bad, considering Glee has definitely solidified it greatly. Once you get used to the vocals, which is kind of similar of that Demi's, you'll find yourself strapped in and ready to go.
Favourite Tracks: On My Way, Battlefield, If You Say So, Don't Let Go
Least Favourite Tracks: Cannonball, Thousand Needles, Empty Handed
The album deserves a score better than the albums that were delivered by other mainstream pop female vocalists considering Lea's talents, which is mostly seen on television. I would recommend the album, but the album's definitely going to get slapped with criticism for sure. But hey, opinions are opinions, so just let it slide. If you enjoy it, good for you.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.