Yes, we’re called Country exclusive, and yes, we’re about to discuss a pop album. Truthfully, this record is something I discovered by accident based on a link from Twitter that made me want to hear it, and it hit me more than most of the country albums this week. I think most of us listen to music from many genres, and I’m going to start talking about music outside the country genre from time to time. I don’t expect it to be often or to have much rhyme or reason; really, I expect it to be just random non-country stuff that I like and want to share. Also, while I listen to plenty of good music in all genres, I cannot claim the amount of knowledge, or indeed even close to the amount, necessary to judge other genres like I can with country, so I am not calling anything non-country a review–these will just be short spotlights of stuff that I enjoyed and thought worthy of passing along to you. Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s talk about Lea Michele and her second studio album, Places.
As I mentioned, I heard about this by accident on Twitter from a comment that said, “Lea Michele has never sounded so good.” So I searched her and this album on Apple Music, and that’s the perfect thing to point out because the best thing about Places is the sheer vocal talent and emotion of Lea Michele. Often, there is just a piano, or just a piano and a string section, and her vocals, but, in contrast to many pop albums–and indeed many modern country albums–that is all Lea Michele needs to make you listen to songs like “Run to You” and “getaway Car.” It is rare to find such a technically great singer who can also express emotion so well, and I have been blown away by her ability to consistently do both each time I listened to this.
I knew nothing about her before Friday, but I have since found out that before her two solo records, Lea Michele was on Glee, and that while this album is a pop effort, it seeks to be more theatrical. It certainly does have a little of that quality. It’s definitely very ballad-heavy, so it won’t probably be for everyone, but the songs themselves and the fact that Lea Michele just murders these songs mostly makes up for that. IN fact, I’d say the weakest points on the whole record are the few moments where she tries to be more upbeat. I’d normally welcome the variety, but the more energetic tracks don’t do as much to showcase all that raw vocal talent. Anyway, if you are a fan of good pop music that has something to say, stripped-back ballads, or just sheer, impressive vocal ability, I recommend giving this a listen.
Standout Tracks: “Run to You,” “Heavenly,” “Getaway Car,” “sentimental Memories”