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Come on and scream a little Louder

Roughly a month ago Chris gave me Lea Michele's "Louder" for my birthday, per my request, and it subsequently had the honor of becoming my First Driving Album of 2014. Once I confirmed I loved the title track, I decided I was going to save the rest of the songs and go on faith of loving her, so even knowing I was going to get it, the whole thing was still a surprise to unpack.

Well, ugly truth first: I HATE the booklet. I hate the cover and I hate all the pictures, which are all in the same style, where she looks dirty and sweat-drenched, like her (super heavy) eye makeup is about to start running, and also like her hair might be borderline crunchy from lack of a wash. She's so naturally beautiful it makes me sad for what could have been. She could have looked elegant, she could have looked mysterious and/or queenly, she could have looked fun-loving, she could have looked sweet and girl-next-door. Instead she kinda...looks like a crack whore. Which is probably in poor taste to say. But she does, all grungy and desperate for a fix.

But the album itself is everything I've wanted from her since she sang “Gives You Hell” in season one: pure pop magic. Everyone claims she is a ~Broadway singer~ and emphatically NOT a pop singer, and I'm sorry – she's nice on Broadway, but Broadway women belt. And I get tired of that very quickly. She sounds more appealing all synthesized and pop-magicked. And it's a very specific kind of pop: innocently upbeat (or at least classy in its seriousness), free of anything racy and overly suggestive in a way that someone else doing "pop" like, oh, idk Katy Perry, might produce.

The slower songs are where the album falters, I think, but that also might be (probably is) my inherent bias against slow songs unless they have amazing lyrics. (and to be honest, lyrics are not this album's strong suit outside of maybe "Battlefield," which I admittedly enjoy quite a bit/am planning to mine for post titles like crazy. Peace will come when one of us puts down the gun has gotta be good for Revolution someday, right?)

Fast preview of my faves, since you won't see The Music Of until July, in track order: On My Way (great driving song), Burn With You (catchy despite hilariously awful imagery/concept), Louder (empowerment for young ladies? always a fave), Cue the Rain (2nd or 3rd overall favorite with the previous song -- I just keep seeing Glee, Future Broadway Star Edition, in "the city was on fire for us"), and then I just feel like I have to love If You Say So because of Reasons (named Cory), though it did not immediately catch my ear. Close behind the top half is Don't Let Go, for its hyper summer fun imagery. Cannonball is still my favorite of the bunch, I'm glad to be able to say, having avoided overplaying it prior to hearing the rest.

Least faves: I do find myself skidding over A Thousand Needles a lot, partly because slow and partly because the imagery in said title is just impossible to dissociate from Cory and that's not an image I want, even though it's not about that at all. I also tend to glide past Empty Handed, mainly because of one reviewer who said that the male backing vocals make it easy to imagine it as a duet between her and Cory, and I'm just like NOPE NOT READY FOR THAT. But honestly? I don't think there are any I really dislike. Which makes it excellent, as far as Driving Albums go.

Anybody else wanna talk about it?


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