Album Review: Lea Michele – Louder

Lea Michele Louder album cover

Lea Michele delivers decent pop debut
Lea Michele, famous for her main role in the cast of the series Glee, decided last year she wanted a career as a recording artist as well. At the end of 2012 she started to record songs and by summer, the album was ready for release. As we all know, a tragedy happened in her life as her boyfriend Cory Monteith died. Michele took some time to mourn over the loss of her lover and the album release got postponed. When the singer got back to work, she decided to record a few new songs, some of them being very personal. All together, Louder is a beautiful album full of great pop tunes and emotional ballads.

In December, Michele premiered ‘Cannonball’, her debut single. She recorded it after the death of Monteith. The song is written by Sia and Lea expressed in interviews how she felt the song was about her life at that moment. The power-ballad is about not letting the sadness get the better of you, but going on with your life. The power in the lyrics and the production of the song, are beautifully translated in Lea’s strong vocals. This was her first attempt at being a pop star and it was very promising to say the least. With the rest of the album, Michele shows the high expectations were justified.

The second track ‘On My Way’, which will be released as second single as well, shows Lea’s voice is perfectly suitable for some more uptempo pop tracks as well. The chorus is explosive and the rhythm is very upbeat and contagious. In an interview with Vevo, Lea explained how initially, her album was more focused on uptempo pop songs, inspired by Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson. In the process of making Louder, she found out that she started to sound too similar to their style and she wanted to make things more personal. The song ‘Battlefield’ was an important moment for her, as that was the track that defined the style she wanted to create for herself, which is great. Songs like ‘On My Way’, ‘Louder’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’ are all nice uptempo tracks, but could basically be recorded by any female pop star that is out there at the moment.

Lea Michele truly shines on somewhat slower songs that are emotionally driven with vulnerable lyrics. The best example of this is the outstanding song ‘Thousand Needles’, that was co-written by Swedish pop singer Tove Lo. Lea perfectly gets across the emotions in the lyrics with per powerful vocals. Especially the ‘I’m Bleeding’ parts are strong and touching. The aforementioned ‘Battlefield’ shows off Lea’s vocal strengths very well too and once again she convinces with an emotional performance of quite a sad song. Luckily, this album is not only about loss and despair, as is proven by the Sia-penned ‘You’re Mine’. This is a gorgeous and uplifting pure love song that is taken to another level by its great production full of strings.

Sia and Tove Lo are not the only pop stars who delivered a song for miss Michele. Christina Perri also wrote a track called ‘Empty Handed’, that ended up on Louder. It is a beautiful, understated and pure song that is typical for Perri, but at the same time fits Lea’s style very well. The album is closed by the painfully honest song ‘If You Say So’, co-written by Michele herself. The song is about the last conversation on the phone she had with her late boyfriend Cory Monteith. The song describes this quite literal and although this is a painful story, she managed to turn it into a beaufiful song. I have got a lot of respect for the fact that she was able to turn this sad loss into a song and put it on her album. Michele is a brave pop star with a bright future. She started off her career as a recording artist in a great way with a beautiful, well produced album.

Must listen: Cannonball, Thousand Needles, Empty Handed, You’re Mine, If You Say So.

Single Review: Lea Michele – Cannonball

Lea Michele Louder album cover

Glee actress transforms into an exciting new pop star

As we all know, 2013 has been an absolutely tough year for Lea Michele. The singer and actress lost the love of her life, but managed to keep going and appeared in the latest episodes of Glee. Michele broke through with playing the role of Rachel in this series a few years ago. Now it is time to broaden her horizon and start a solo career in music. Today, she released her first single ‘Cannonball’. The debut album Louder will follow in March next year and judging by this first single, 2014 could definitely be the year of Lea Michele.

Lea Michele has been playing one of the main roles in Glee for a few years now and she could be considered as one of the biggest voices of the cast as well. After numerous solos on cover songs during the show, she now decided to release her own music. For her first single, the power ballad ‘Cannonball’, the singer got some help from Sia, who penned the track. Michele did not co-write on her first single, but she does have some writing credits on the album, along with artists like Christina Perri, new Swedish star Tove Lo and more appearances from Sia.

Lea Michele is not the first artist that recently put out a Sia written ballad. Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’, Céline Dion’s ‘Loved Me Back To Life’, Britney’s ‘Perfume’ and many other album tracks were written by the Australian singer-songwriter. Sia’s writing style is recognizable in the power ballad ‘Cannonball’. Both the verses and chorus are incredibly catchy and powerful. Lea’s strong vocals match very well with this type of pop ballad. The song is not miles away from the above mentioned Sia tracks, but it also reminds slightly of songs like ‘Battlefield’ by Jordin Sparks. The repetition of certain words in the chorus as well as the verses add to the catchiness of the track and the melody is basically very strong throughout every part. Lea gets the chance to showcase the strength of her vocals and although the last chorus could have done with a bit more of a climax, I think it is a good thing that they kept her vocal style poppy and not too theatrical. Overall, ‘Cannonball’ is an exciting first single from a promising new pop star!


Single recensie: Lea Michele – Cannonball

Glee actrice ontpopt zich tot veelbelovende popster

Zoals de meesten van ons wel weten is 2013 bepaald geen makkelijk jaar geweest voor Lea Michele. De zangeres en actrice verloor de liefde van haar leven, maar sloeg zich dapper door deze moeilijke tijd heen door toch in de meest recente afleveringen van Glee te verschijnen. Michele brak enkele jaren geleden door toen ze de rol van Rachel op zich nam in de populaire televisieserie. Nu verbreedt ze haar horizon door een solo carrière in de popmuziek te beginnen. Vandaag verscheen haar eerste single ‘Cannonball’ en het debuutalbum Louder zal in maart in de schappen liggen. 2014 zou zomaar eens het jaar van Lea Michele kunnen worden.

Lea Michele speelt al enkele jaren één van de hoofdrollen in Glee en ze zou ook wel de grootste stem in de cast van de serie genoemd kunnen worden. Na het inzingen van vele solo’s op een oneindige hoeveelheid covers afkomstig uit de show, vond ze het nu tijd om met haar eigen materiaal aan de slag te gaan. Voor de eerste single, powerballad ‘Cannonball’, kreeg de zangeres hulp van Sia, die meeschreef. Michele schreef zelf niet mee aan haar debuutsingle, maar krijgt wel enkele credits op andere tracks die op haar debuut komen te staan, naast inbreng van onder anderen zangeres Christina Perri, nieuwe Zweedse ster Tove Lo en nog een aantal co-writes van Sia.

Lea Michele is niet de eerste die met een door Sia geschreven song op de proppen komt. Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’, Céline Dion’s ‘Loved Me Back To Life’, Britney’s ‘Perfume’ en een behoorlijke hoeveelheid albumtracks van diverse artiesten werden door de Australische singer-songwriter geschreven. Sia’s stijl is dan ook gemakkelijk te herkennen op ‘Cannonball’. Zowel de coupletten als de refreinen van de track zijn zeer catchy en krachtig. Lea’s sterke stem sluit dan ook perfect aan bij liedjes in deze stijl. De song ligt qua geluid niet ver bij de bovengenoemde Sia songs vandaan, maar doet hier en daar qua opbouw ook wat denken aan liedjes als ‘Battlefield’ van Jordin Sparks. Het herhalen van bepaalde woorden tijdens zowel de coupletten als het refrein, draagt bij aan de aanstekelijkheid van de plaat en de melodie is eigenlijk gedurende het hele lied ijzersterk. Lea krijgt de kans om de kracht van haar stem te laten horen en hoewel het laatste refrein misschien een iets grotere climax had nodig gehad, is het goed om te horen dat haar stem in de productie poppy is gebleven en niet te theatraal is gemaakt. ‘Cannonball’ is dan ook een veelbelovende nieuwe single van een interessante nieuwe popster!

Single Review: Christina Perri – Human

Christina Perri Human cover

Christina Perri returns to music with beautiful new single

Christina Perri had her big break in the United States when her song ‘Jar Of Hearts’ was used during a performance on So You Think You Can Dance. The single became an international hit and rightfully so, because it is definitely one of the best and most touching ballads released in recent years. Perri released her debut album Lovestrong. in 2011 and enjoyed success with her song ‘A Thousand Years’, the soundtrack of part four of the Twilight movies. Last year she released a Christmas EP, but now she is back with an official new single ‘Human’ and she once again proves she can write and perform beautiful ballads like no one else.

Christina Perri’s debut album Lovestrong. was full of beautiful and emotional ballads like ‘The Lonely’, ‘Tragedy’ and of course ‘Jar Of Hearts’. The new single ‘Human’ is not miles away from the sound of Lovestrong., but it is obvious as well that Perri’s style developed a bit since that release. She sounds somewhat more mature and confident vocally as well as in the lyrics of the track. In the verses Perri states all the things she could do for another person, like holding her breath and biting her tongue, but in the choruses she confesses: “I’m only human and I bleed when I fall down”. There the vulnerability in her lyrics and vocals is back, which adds to the emotional and personal identity of the song.

Melodically, the chorus of ‘Human’ is one of the best things Perri has done so far. At the start of the first chorus, the instrumentation is reduced to a minimum to give room to Perri’s voice and the melody and this actually delivers a magical moment in the song. In the second chorus the band plays along which sounds great as well. It shows Perri does not only sound great on ballads that revolve mostly around the piano, but she also masters this kind of pop ballad with a full band sound. Her vocals sound impressive and vulnerable at the same time. She always manages to add a personal and emotional touch with her characteristic vocal style. Perri’s second album is supposed to come out in spring next year and ‘Human’ is a very promising first taste of it.


Single recensie: Christina Perri – Human

Christina Perri maakt haar comeback met een mooie nieuwe single

Christina Perri beleefde haar grote doorbraak in de Verenigde Staten in 2010 toen haar liedje ‘Jar Of Hearts’ werd gebruikt in een aflevering van So You Think You Can Dance. Het lied groeide uit tot een internationale hit wat volledig terecht is, want ‘Jar Of Hearts’ is absoluut één van de beste ballads die in de laatste jaren is uitgebracht. Het debuutalbum Lovestrong. verscheen in 2011 en Perri wist succes te oogsten met haar lied ‘A Thousand Years’, dat als soundtrack van de vierde Twilight film werd gebruikt. Vorig jaar bracht ze nog een Kerst EP uit als tussendoortje, maar nu is ze volledig terug met de nieuwe single ‘Human’ en ze laat zien dat ze nog steeds mooie ballads kan schrijven en zingen als geen ander.

Christina Perri’s debuutalbum Lovestrong. stond vol met mooie en emotionele ballads zoals ‘The Lonely’, ‘Tragedy’ en natuurlijk ‘Jar Of Hearts’. De nieuwe single ‘Human’ ligt niet heel ver van deze sound vandaan, maar Perri klinkt nu toch wat zelfzekerder en volwassener, zowel vocaal als qua songtekst. In de coupletten somt de zangeres allerlei dingen op die ze voor een ander zou kunnen doen zoals het inhouden van haar adem of een neppe glimlach opzetten, maar in het refrein geeft ze toe: “I’m only human and I bleed when I fall down”. Dan is de breekbaarheid weer terug, wat bijdraagt aan het emotionele en persoonlijke karakter van het lied.

Melodisch gezien is het refrein van ‘Human’ één van de beste dingen die Perri tot nu toe heeft uitgebracht. Als het refrein voor het eerst wordt ingezet, is de instrumentatie beperkt tot een minimum om de melodie en Perri’s vocalen volop de ruimte te geven om te stralen. Dit zorgt voor een haast magisch moment in het lied. Tijdens het tweede refrein speelt de band volop mee wat ook zeer goed klinkt. Perri laat hiermee zien dat ze naast het beheersen van ballads die rondom een piano zijn gebouwd, ook goed overeind blijft in een voller bandgeluid. Haar stem klinkt wederom tegelijkertijd indrukwekkend en breekbaar. Perri weet haar tracks altijd van een persoonlijke touch te voorzien met haar karakteristieke stemgeluid. Het tweede album van Christina Perri zou in het voorjaar van 2014 moeten verschijnen en ‘Human’ is alvast een veelbelovend voorproefje.