Louder by Lea Michele
“It’s more than just an album to me,” “Glee” star Lea Michele recently told Billboard about her debut album “Louder.” “It’s a piece of my life that I’m so glad is here for me to have for the rest of my life. Now that it’s coming out, it’s unbelievable.” Louder is the debut album Lea Michele. It was released on February 28, 2014, by Columbia Records. The Broadway veteran (“Spring Awakening,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Ragtime”) puts her mighty soprano through its paces on bouncy dance tracks, soaring ballads, and mid-tempo pop tunes where she straddles the line, mostly comfortably, between Katy Perry and Celine Dion. It debuted at 4 on Australian Albums Chart, Canadian Albums Chart and US Billboard 200. Louder received mixed reviews from critics, with many criticizing its material as “dated”.
The album begins with “Canonball”, was released as the album’s lead single on December 10, 2013, is co-written by Sia and Stargate. It has a good start – which keep you hooked. Synth-pop, rhythmic thump of drum and powerful vocals by Michele. Anthemic in every sense of the word, the mid-tempo track’s lyrics for the song include, “I let go of fear and the peace came quickly / I was in the dark and then it hit me / I chose suffering and pain and the falling rain / I know I gotta get out into the world again.”
The next is “On My Way” which is the first electro-pop tune of the album. Breathy, sassy vocals in the beginning and pumping chorus about sobriety and intoxication comparisons to love run rampant throughout, as she belts out that her “heart’s too drunk to drive” and she exists in a “blackout state of mind.” The dubstep-infused track has a similar sound to pop singer Demi Lovato’s recent work, particularly the 2013 track “Never Been Hurt,” both of which were produced by the team The Monsters and the Strangerz. While catchy, “On My Way” overall fails to think outside the box.
Third is my favorite “Burn With You” with kinda same start as On My Way. Check out the imagination “I don’t wanna go to heaven if you’re going to hell / I will burn with you.” written by Nasri it is easily likeable song. It Cory Monteith was his favorite too. It’s a powerful number with killer vocals.
Battlefield in a nutshell is an acoustic ballad with piano, Demi’s Warrior like vocals. Ballads are a natural fit for Michele, and on the piano-based “Battlefield,” she demonstrates vocal restraint when there’s often temptation to go big on songs like this. “It’s easy to fall in love / But it’s so hard to break somebody’s heart / What seemed like a good idea’s turned into a battlefield.” The song gives off definite Rachel Berry vibes. Another one I would say.
“You’re Mine” makes you think Ellie Goulding. Nice pumping beat. It’s one of the more musically complex songs of “Louder.” The foundation is a mid-tempo, hazy beat that pairs well with Michele’s soaring vocals and subtle, lush orchestration. Lyrics goes like “And I told you all my dreams and fears / And you looked at me and your eyes filled with tears and said those three words I’ve been waiting for / You became a part of me / You’re mine”. Standout track. Well done, Michele.
Up next is “Thousand Needles” where Michele agonizes about a relationship crumbling right before her eyes, likening the feeling to a thousand needles on her heart. It’s the Louder’s darkest track with low-key percussion. A song Ellie Goulding would do. Another standout.
The title track is here. About “Louder”, Lea told Billboard “It shows off my voice as a singer, which is really important to me. I want to make sure that every song on my record is fun and enjoyable.” It’s the kind of song you’ll get to listen as background music in fashion shows. It’s a party-read track with feel-good vibe. Not a title track. A track Romanian’s would do, if you know what I mean. A bit like “’Till The World Ends”.
Next is “Cue The Rain” which Lea co-wrote with Matt Rad and Felicia Barton. Beginning is SO Ellie Goulding (I know I should shut up about Goulding). Another track about love gone wrong – with back vocals like Princess Of China by Coldplay. Hooky bridge and chorus. Too much fire and pain throughout – this track is kinda same like others – on the bright side, it’s one of two songs that Michele co-wrote, and it doesn’t seem out-of-place or awkward. Love the ending.
“Don’t Let Go” has that bland imagery (according to Billboard) like “Flying high as a kite no ground below, Got me up in the sky running don’t let go” but it’s a fun track with pop-meets-rock vibe and its good. Could have been more creative with lyrics though – as it doesn’t match with the album.
Second last track “Empty Handed” is again (wait for it) Ellie Goulding. Get you hooked like Hale’s Just Another Song (why do debut ladies have to save the treat for the last??) with light guitar-driven beat, different from other songs on the album. It feels like something Christina Perri would do and the thing is Perri co-wrote it. It’s a slow-building piano-pop rock tune about letting someone love you, and it’s one of the best songs — and a deserving potential single — from “Louder.” Additionally, thanks to a male background singer’s evident vocals on the song, you can’t help but think it is a perfect duet for Rachel and Finn on “Glee.” Cue the goose bumps and tears. It’s strong enough to be a single. Then why not?
Last track “If You Say So” begins with gradually-getting-there piano and vocals. Its another acoustic number which revolves around Lea and Cory’s last conversation. Michele co-wrote this track following the death of Monteith. “It’s been seven whole days without your embrace / I wanna see your face, I’ve got some things to say / Was just a week ago you said ‘I love you girl’ / I said ‘I love you more’ / Then a breath, a pause, she said, ‘If you say so”. The true devastation and heartbreak is evident throughout the ballad and is a standout on the record, whereas a majority of “Louder” songs feel tailor-made.
Louder ends with this heart wrenching ballad – it was quite a journey, no? mid-tempo, EDM, pop-rock and acoustic ballads- a whole package. The bonus tracks include Michele co-written “Gone Tonight”, “What Is Love”, the latter one co-written by CJ Baran and another number “The Bells”.