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II: HER WORDS • Culture & Music KTRM Radio / Truman State


Review – Lea Michelle’s Louder Lea Michelle, arguably Glee’s most impressive Broadway talent, is trying her hand at pop music


in her debut studio album Louderwhich was release on February 28th by Columbia Records. The attempt is valiant, but somewhat misplaces the immense potential of a very talented vocalist. Michelle began her Broadway career at eight with a small role in Les Miserable. She also earned spots inRagtime and Fiddler on the Roof before originating the lead role of Wendla Bergmann in Spring Awakening. Lea then began to move away from Broadway after getting the role of Rachel Berry, Glee’s


original leading lady. The show has been a massive success and has brought Michelle into a more mainstream, pop outlet than she had during her runs in theater. Louder is the first jump the actress has made to the solo side of pop music. She’s appeared on a number ofGlee’s albums, in which she sings covers of everything from Katy Perry to Barbara Streisand, but this is her first attempt at building a cohesive pop catalog, and it shows. While the vocals on Louder never falter—Michelle sounds consistently strong and significantly


more impressive than most pop singers on the radio—but the lyrics don’t match the big voice singing them and the production is thin. The album certainly has a cohesive lyrical theme, often focusing on the harsh reality of losing love, but the idea is very heavy-handed and obvious as well as repetitive. The album’s single and opening track is among the most offensive in the bunch and left me with a bad taste in my mouth for the songs that follow. Apart from being wholly boring and not nearly catchy enough to be a radio hit, Cannonballwants the listener to understand that Michelle wants to break out of her life by “fly[ing] like a cannonball,” which is nonsense writing. It doesn’t get much better a couple songs down the line, either, with Michelle crying “I don’t


wanna go to heaven / if you’re going to hell/ I’ll burn with you” on the album’s third track, Burn With Me. Flimsy, cringe-worthy lyrics and boring production are only made slightly more listenable by Lea Michelle’s voice, which shines through a lot more on the second half of the album, if you can get there. The back half is more ballad-heavy, and therefore much more suitable to the vocals of the artist. The production and tempo of Battlefield andEmpty Handed do the most to serve Michelle’s voice and give her a platform while also weaving listenable lyrics and a big backing track. Michelle may have the capacity to be a pop princess if she teams up with the right line of writers


and producers, but the genre will never do her voice any favors. As a trained singer and actor, it’s interesting that she wouldn’t choose a more suitable genre for her first foray into solo work. Diving head first into electo-pop infused inspiration is a strange first step, and one that may cost her some fans. You can really feel the talent and hard work in this album, but knowing that it’s stifling a potentially awesome project in some other vein of artistry makes it harder to listen to. While no worse a showing than a number of other mainstream pop albums this year—and leagues above some—Louder isn’t a fun listen and it’s not one that will bring you back for more. 4/10


- —Mackenzie McDermott 136


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