After half a decade on our screens and countless releases via her character Rachel Berry, alongside fellow Fox cast members, Glee star and Broadway musical veteran Lea Michele (Sarfati) has formulated her debut of original tracks. ‘Louder’ sees the star step away from her past and start using those distinctive and distinguished vocals to reinforce her own identity.
The eleven track debut opens with Cannonball, a deeply emotive and empowering ballad. True, the initial track is memorable with its catchy chorus but it is also guilty of over-production and Sarfati’s stage school past shines through, and not in a good way. The record continues with the more upbeat On My Way but again, the solid foundation of a memorable pop song is shattered by an over-polished finish. Battlefield proves to be the next highlight. The juxtaposition of the vocal line and piano adds to the already exposing lyrics, helping to creating a sense of vulnerability to Sarfati’s voice rarely seen before.
Title track, Louder sees the singer tone down the dramatics too much as a result what should have been an infectious dance tune is simply too timid. Later track Don’t Let Go could have fitted this role far better had it been given a little more attention. The album comes to a close with the intense; If You Say So Co-penned by Sarfati, the final track echoes the recent events in the star’s personal life. Lines like ‘…seven whole days since you paralysed me….’ capture the rawness of the emotion in the lyrics and Sarfati captures the anger and anguish of losing co-star and boyfriend Cory Monteith convincingly.
A brave undertaking for someone with such a strong on screen persona ‘Louder’ is well formulated and hits on some sound elements. However, considering the response to her vocal ability since her arrival on our TV screens, the record is missing the awe factor that is surely available when dealing with such a talent as Lea Michele. It’s also missing that stand out track that Cannonball fails to be. Alongside this, the former Broadway star could do with toning down the remnants of her musical theatre past. Saying all this, as a pop record ‘Louder’ offers enough and is bound to be a hit with those who have been following Lea Michele both on and off screen.