Lea Michele is most well known as Glee’s ambitious and beloved Rachel Berry, with a spectacular voice that excels at belting out broadway tunes on the hit show. Having been nominated for awards at the Golden Globes, Emmys and Grammys through Glee, Michele has achieved the perfect balance in her acting/music career. Whilst the previous year has been tough for Lea, she never deterred from her plan to release her debut solo album Louder. Singing as Lea Michele and not Rachel Berry or any other character means that there is no veil to hide behind, and fans get to take a glimpse into Michele’s mind. Will her solo career be as successful as her alter ego’s?
Lea delivers pure pop with this debut. Each song has well written, emotive lyrics that are well conveyed by Michele’s emotional depth.The album starts off with the first single Cannonball. Emmitting rays of strength and hope, this slower-paced pop song is a good start to Louder. More upbeat and edgy pop songs follow, with On My Way, Burn With You, Louder and Cue The Rain. Don’t Let Go is an extremely upbeat breakup song, but with such emotive lyrics it may have worked better as a ballad.
These pop songs all have great melodies and Lea’s vocals are always amazing. However, with some of these songs (particularly the first few tracks) Michele’s voice doesn’t seem to quite fit right with the sugary pop beats. It could just be that our ears are more used to hearing her belt out showtunes, but it’s not something that is noticeable in the second half of the album. Another critique of the aforementioned songs is that they all use a lot of repetition in the lyrics. This can become grating on the listener, not just within the song but from one track to another.
Battlefield, Thousand Needles, Empty Handed and If You Say So are the most comfortable tracks on the album, as Lea’s vocals are felt to be effortless. Battlefield is a mesmerising ballad; this heartfelt song has a beautiful piano introduction and demonstrates Michele’s stunning vocal control. Thousand Needles and Empty Handed are both pop songs but with a soft and gentle touch, which gives great variety to the album. If You Say So is the final song on Louder and is dedicated to Lea’s late fiancé Cory Monteith. The lyrics, especially for the chorus, are perhaps a little too simple on an album filled with such lyrical depth, but the overall sentimentality of the song is overwhelming. “If you say so” are the last words Cory spoke to Lea, and she shares this with her fans through a heart-wrenching ballad.
Louder is a good debut for Michele, who is trying to forge a path and sound for herself as a solo artist. The pop songs are fun, happy and upbeat, but softer melodies and ballads are where Lea Michele really shines, both on screen and off.