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Title - 'Louder' (Columbia Records)
Artist - Lea Michele

Louder is the debut solo album from Leah Michele, who is best known for the character Rachel Berry on GLEE, for which she has earned two Golden Globe nominations and an Emmy nomination.

Of the 43 million singles sold from GLEE, over 10 million of those are Lea Michele songs. Lea is featured as lead singer in over half of the of the Top 20 selling GLEE songs.

Now a veteran of Broadway and Television, this album takes Lea fully into the world of popular music.

The first track is also the first single released, ‘Cannonball’ and sets the scene for what is to follow. A preaching song that could have so easily been called ‘Breakdown,’ it’s all about breaking free from the bonds that bind her emotionally. Indeed, she wants to “… fly like a cannonball” and forget everything that went on in her past. The next track is the fist-pumping, hair-whipping ‘On My Way’ which fairly burst out of the stereo (do other people still have those also?) and is backed by ’Burn With You.’ An interesting song lyrically (“I don’t want to go to Heaven if you’re going to Hell … I will burn with you”, but definitely a stand out on her debut album.

Next come a series of ballads and power ballads. The first is the piano ballad ‘Battlefield’ which is quickly followed by another piano-infused semi-dance track in the shape of ‘You’re Mine.’ The trio is rounded out by the power ballad ‘Thousand Needles,’ before she’s finally stepping the real heartbeat of the album’s tempo back up with the title track, ‘Louder.’

Having got us all pumped and ready to hit the dance floor Michele then reverts back to the power ballad mid-section of this album and we get ’Cue The Rain.’ She follows that with the happy pop sounds of ‘Don’t Let Go,’ which really allows her vocals to blossom. The album is then brought to a close with the Coldplay-inspired ballad ‘Empty Handed’ and then finally the piano-based ballad ‘If You Say So.’

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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