Review - Haley Reinhart - Listen Up
When I started writing this review, I thought it was going to be like, a paragraph, and that I would include with a handful of other ones in a post that was full of “sorry, I can’t write full reviews on everything but I thought I should weigh in on…” reviews. I’m only one man people, I can’t write about EVERYTHING.
I assumed Haley Reinhart’s debut album ‘Listen Up!’ would be like so many Idol alums before her – nice, but forgettable. I had started putting everything together before I listened to it, but I am glad I saved room. Once I hit play on track number one, everything changed.
‘Listen Up!’ (in addition to being a category of blog posts that I write from time to time) is immediately surprising. You’d think a girl like Haley coming out of a place like American Idol would grab for something easy and possibly successful on radio – you know, Katy Perry/Rihanna grade electro/dance-pop. Instead, she takes another route, making an album that is poppy and soulful. The closest album I’ve heard like this in the past several years was Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ (and that’s a fucking compliment if I’ve ever heard one). ‘Listen Up!’ is bluesy, her voice going from powerful to raspy on a whim and the call of the tune.
Reinhart comes out of nowhere with this sound (for me at least, I don’t watch American Idol, so I have no idea what she sang on the show) but does it very well. She isn’t the best singer in the world (maybe why she didn’t win), but it doesn’t matter. At no point does anything sound too stressed. You can hear that the girl is trying and giving it her all, but not stepping outside of what works for her. The sound doesn’t fit her image, but the girl fills out a track better than you’d expect.
“Free”, the album’s first single isn’t my favorite, but it is still rather good. Opening number “Oh My! (ft. B.O.B.)” is amazing, and it shows you what style is coming your way. Horns upon horns, pianos, and background girls singing “oooh”s take the place of any electronics. “Now That You’re Here” is so upbeat and pumping, you’ll be tapping along and dancing in your chair without realizing.
The lyrics are nothing to write home about, but they work well for her. In fact, everything does. I can’t believe I like this album as much as I do, but that’s how these things go sometimes. I’m not saying this would have been Amy’s next CD, but some of the music might have gone to her…
Listen to: “Oh My! (ft. B.O.B.)”, “Liar”, “Now That You’re Here”, and “Keep Coming Back”