Lea Michele is without a doubt one of the classiest and most talented women in showbusiness today. The Glee star has been under the microscope following the death of her boyfriend and co-star Cory Monteith and she’s handled herself with such incredibly dignity that we have nothing but respect for her. During one of the most difficult times of her life, Michele made a bold decision to carry on working returning to the Glee set and recording her debut album Louder. Most people would have withdrawn and gone into hiding but not Michele; she’s clearly made of stronger stuff.
The release of Louder puts Michele further under the microscope as the world watches to see if she can cut it as a popstar. The claws have already been out stateside but the album still soared into the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. Listening through to the album it’s clear that Cory Monteith was at the forefront of Michele’s mind whilst recording even though she’s only got two co-writes on the record.
Lead single and album opener Cannonball, co-written by Sia, was recorded following Monteith’s death and it’s not hard to see why Michele related to the track. As she sings lyrics such as, ‘I won’t hide inside, I gotta get out’ and ‘I will start living today’ you can hear every ounce of passion and hope in her voice that she can get past her personal tragedy and continue with her life.
Louder is at times not an easy listen because it’s difficult to separate Monteith from the record. Album closer If You Say So, written in tribute to the late actor, contains the last word’s he ever said to Michele and is an emotive song that will no doubt have you welling up like it did us.
There are more optimistic and hopeful moments on the album like the punchy On My Way, the powerful Burn With You, and the beat-driven title track Louder. One of the early standouts on the record is the atmospheric Thousand Needles which shows off Michele’s magnificent voice.
The finest song on the album is one that was previewed before its release and that’s Battlefield. The stripped-back piano ballad is one that fits with Michele’s voice perfectly allowing her to showcase her range and power. She doesn’t need polished production, EDM beats or pop polish as her voice is head and shoulders above the majority of singers in the charts.
For a debut album Louder is a solid effort. There are some standout moments on the album and Michele’s voice is what carries it for the most part. The album is a little hampered at times by similar sounding songs and at points the tracks do blend into one another. The similar themes throughout may prove a little samey for some listeners too. For us we think it’s a solid start for Michele and the next stage in her attempt to separate herself from Glee and prepare for life after the show when it ends in 2015.