Lea Michele’s ‘Louder’ an instant pop success

5/5 Pitchforks

Since its debut in 2009, “Glee” has been an unstoppable television giant, monopolizing primetime ratings. The cast found overnight success partly because of the show’s main character Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele.

After five years of covering popular hits on the comedy-drama, Michele has released her debut album “Louder.” Postponed after the death of her longtime boyfriend and “Glee” co-star, Cory Monteith, the highly anticipated album has now catapulted to the top of the charts.

The album’s theme is undoubtably one of love and loss. With its 11 tracks, “Louder” is soulful, uplifting and at times heartbreaking.

 

 

The powerhouse ballad “Cannonball” is an inspirational start to the album. In “Battlefield” and “Empty Handed” there are softer melodies to balance the immensity of Michele’s vocals. New listeners will discover what “Glee” fans have known for years: Michele has one of the best voices of our generation. Her falsetto range is especially noticeable in “Burn with You,” with each note trumping the last.

“You’re Mine” is about falling in love with Monteith. Their relationship was clearly the dominant force while recording the album. Michele said she was under a “Cory Monteith spell” in an interview with Glamour UK, revealing just how serious the relationship was before his death this past summer: “We talked about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. We were done. We were it. When you’re at that place in your life with someone, you talk about everything. But today, I feel like I was given the best part of Cory, and I’m thankful for that.”

This makes the album’s last song even more powerful. In “If You Say So,” Michele reflects on the last conversation she had with Monteith and her inability to cope with his death. The rawness of the song will touch the hearts of “Gleeks” with its emotional and sincere lyrics: “I can’t get away from the burning pain, I lie awake / And the fallen hero haunts my thoughts / How could you leave me this way?”

“Louder,” which is available now, is capable of transforming Michele from television star to full-fledged pop star. It’s one of the strongest debut albums in years and considering the heartbreak it took to create it, its success is more than well-deserved.

Reach the reporter at jurgiles@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @MrsMathers94