Five years since her debut as Rachel Berry on ‘Glee’, Lea Michele has finally decided to grace the pop world with an album of originals.
There is no doubt that Lea is a fine vocalist, and she takes glee (whoop) in showing this off to full effect on ‘Louder’.
It starts with the strong ‘Cannonball’, co-written by Sia, which is quite the self-empowerment moment, not that radio has noticed. On that note, if you’re expecting innovative pop music, ‘Louder’ is not the album for you. It’s formulaic pop/rock all the way, from the guitar driven ‘On My Way’ to the faux angsty ‘Burn With You’.
Lea does get a little bit dancey on ‘Louder’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’ but it’s more dancing in your bedroom than at the bar (think Celine Dion singing over a Katy Perry backing track).
Now for the ballads… we’re sure ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Thousand Needles’ could slip right into a future ‘Glee’ episode but it feels more Rachel Berry than Lea Michele, leading to the existential crisis that surrounds ‘Louder’… Who is Lea Michele as an artist?
We like to think we find her in ‘If You Say So’, based on the death of Lea’s boyfriend Cory Monteith. It’s surprisingly restrained compared to the other ballads on the album and it’s this composure that we find quite alluring. Yes, Lea can use her vocal cords like the best of them but it’s her control in this devastating song that lets it easily stand apart.
Don’t get us wrong, ‘Louder’ is essentially a guilty pleasure addition to a Gleek’s album collection rather than a true debut of a rising ingénue but perhaps there’s hope for Lea the singer once the show wraps its run next year.
Download : On My Way, If You Say So