Glee’s signature diva Lea Michele released her first solo album, “Louder”, this week marking the beginning of her attempt to transfer from the Broadway and TV worlds into a career as a solo artist. Michele grew up on Broadway and is known for her effortless high notes and emotional performances. “Louder” attempts to balance this persona with a relaxed, radio-friendly sound.
The album opens with “Cannonball”, a high-energy track overflowing with self affirmation and Michele’s determination to do better. Michele attempts to shed her Broadway image, but years of training are apparent and the song is almost too perfect.
One of the defining factors of this album is that Michele’s boyfriend, Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose last year, leaving listeners to wonder how their relationship would be treated on the album. Most of the album’s songs deal with issues of relationship and love, and clearly refer to Michele’s relationship with Monteith. In the future, she could benefit from expanding her subject matter and tackling other subjects.
Michele has said that “Burn With You” was Monteith’s favorite track and it is easy to see why. There is no hint of insincerity in her desperately earnest vocals, and it is the imperfection and edge to her voice that makes the song work.
The album begins with a series of slower paced, heavy pieces and ups the tempo in the second half.
“You’re Mine” is a musically clever piece that, although the subject is a bit overdone at this point, finally gives Michele the chance to showcase her vocal talents. “Louder” is Michele’s most obvious attempt to break into the pop mainstream. She delivers a poppy anthem with a positive message that isn’t bad, but isn’t memorable either.
The most moving track on the album is undoubtedly the final song “If You Say So”, which was written after Monteith’s death and details their last conversation. Michele handles the subject with grace and dignity, displaying the depth of their relationship in a vulnerable way.
There’s nothing wrong with “Louder” as an album but it is not particularly memorable. Glee is covering some of Michele’s songs which will give her music exposure, but also continue to tie her to a dying show and a character that many people hate. But regardless of its commercial success, Michele has created an album she can be proud of. “Louder” showcases Michele’s talent in a fresh way and honors her and Monteith’s love story.