Grab your tissues, because Lea Michele’s sophmore album is going to leave you in tears — and make you miss ‘Glee’ even more than you already do. Check out our album review!
Places, Lea Michele‘s second album in three years, will surely be a welcomed joy to her fans, who keep their devoted musical playlist of old Glee songs and the Spring Awakening soundtrack on repeat daily. To her credit, this album feels much more like she’s embracing who she is as a singer than her first album, Louder. While still ballad-heavy, the album feels and sounds like Lea is playing to her strengths. Her lyrics are theatrical, her vocals are a force to be reckoned with, and the songs strive to reach the epic levels of Celine Dion in her prime.
But here’s where the album falls short. Too many of the songs sound sadly similar to the lackluster tracks from her first album — tearjerkers, without much substance. In no way does Lea have to prove she is a powerhouse performer, but she, like her contemporary Idina Menzel, needs the right material to shine. Too much of the album doesn’t do her justice. Take “Getaway Car,” a romantic, radio-ready track that lets Lea show off her range while telling a story of young love. Lea certainly doesn’t need a 30-piece orchestra to pull at your heartstrings, but the song felt too simplistically produced for the likes of her talent. Then again, it sounded perfect as a duet with Darren Criss, who she performed the song with live on YouTube. Take from that what you will.
Still, the bright spots in the album are blinding, with three tracks so on brand, Ryan Murphy would’ve insisted she perform them on Glee if it was still on the air. “Proud” is a beautiful ballad dedicated to her supportive parents, something every kid can relate to, just like so many of her fans related to her character, Rachel Berry. “Run to You” is haunting and is the best example of the depth of Lea’s vocals. It’s not a powerhouse record; it’s controlled and biting love song that lets you feel the emotion, rather than feel bowled over by excessive high-notes.
The album closes out with “Hey You,” a gut-wrenchingly personal song dedicated to Lea’s former co-star and boyfriend Cory Monteith, who died while they were still filming Glee in 2013. While many have speculated that her earlier work was inspired by Cory, this song clearly explores her final moments with the man who played her greatest love on screen. The lyrics are shockingly intimate, delving into how she continues to deal with his loss today (“When the days are getting long, nights are getting hard, I see you. When I laugh until I cry, I don’t even know why, I feel you,”) and reveals how she felt the last days they were together before his death. “The final days were the hardest,” she sings. “I didn’t think they would be your last. Hope you know I forgive you.” Listening to this song is almost as hard as watching her performance of “Make You Feel My Love” in the “Quarterback” episode of Glee…almost.
HollywoodLifers, will you be picking up the album today?