x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Album review: Lea Michele – Louder

Louder proves her technically honed voice remains best suited to the stage as opposed to a dance-pop album.

Lea Michele Louder (Columbia) ⋆⋆ ⋆⋆

To call the Glee star Lea Michele’s debut album a cynical cash grab would be slightly unfair. Michele was already an accomplished Broadway singer before joining the hit show in 2009. However, Louder proves her technically honed voice remains best suited to the stage as opposed to a dance-pop album. Nearly everything here seems forced, with producers seemingly taking no care with how to take advantage of Michele’s powerful voice. Don’t Let Go sounds rather turgid, the bland mid-tempo beats are matched by beige metaphors about flying a kite. You’re Mine has Michele really belting it out, but matched with an uninspiring down-tempo beat, the vocals become rather grating. Fortunately, Michele shows some welcome restraint in the classy ballad Battlefield; while the propulsive single Cannonball is really a showcase for the ace-tunesmith Sia Furler, who co-wrote the track. The album closes with the powerful If You Say So, a piano ballad directly addressing the death of Michele’s Glee co-star and former partner Cory Monteith. It’s powerful stuff and a rare moment where Michele is truly herself.

artslife@thenational.ae