BY: MELISSA TANAKA
After countless setbacks and what she calls one of her most difficult years, Lea Michele released her debut album, “Louder,” on March 4, to the delight of fans everywhere. “Louder” quickly went to number one on iTunes within hours of release, and it’s no surprise as to why. The album itself is solid, 11 tracks of everything from upbeat tunes to power ballads, all of which show off Michele’s impressive vocal range. The songs captivate listeners, and the strong melodies and powerhouse vocals help to remind us that there’s more to Michele than meets the eye.
The singer and actress has performed on Broadway, starred in a movie, won three consecutive People’s Choice Awards, and is currently a part of an award-winning television show, but the album is something much more personal. Michele sought to record an honest album, and handpicked the songs in order to ensure that every song was one that she could relate to. The album has an impressive collection of writers, including Sia Furler, Christina Perri, and Adam Messinger, as well as a few tracks that were co-written by Michele herself.
There are a few shortcomings on the album, such as one or two tracks that fail to build or build without reaching a high point, or tracks that are too electronically driven to properly feature Michele’s talent. After all, she’s known for her Broadway pipes, and the transition from theater to pop has proved difficult for others in the past. Michele’s strength lies in the powerful ballads that showcase her voice and in the tailor-made songs that better suit her style.
Some of the standout songs on the album are title track “Louder,” which encourages listeners to be bold and be themselves, and leading single “Cannonball,” a pop anthem-type song about persevering through tough times and overcoming obstacles. Other noteworthy tracks are “Empty Handed,” a slowly building song about allowing yourself to be vulnerable to love, and “If You Say So” which is dedicated to Cory Monteith, Michele’s long-time boyfriend who died last year. The latter details their last conversation and the range of emotions Michele went through in the week after his death, making the track one of the most emotional ones by far.