Haley Reinhart wants you to 'Listen Up!'
Haley Reinhart’s debut CD “Listen Up!” debuts on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The album as a whole has an overproduced feel to it. It seems like the producers didn’t trust her or the songs that she sang to carry an entire album. Her first release from the album, “Free,” is a notable exception where Reinhart’s vocal competence is shown off with a strong piano riff to add to the track.
“Liar,” “Wonderland” and “Keep Coming Back” are clearly the weakest tracks on the CD while “Oh My!” and “Free” are the strongest. The last six tracks on the CD are a 1B to the top two meaning they are good, but they don’t have the emotional pull of the first two songs. “Wasted Tears,” “Undone” and “Now That You’re Here” are decent songs, but nothing to write home about.
“Listen Up!” is clearly a CD that belongs in every Halien collection, but even the casual fan of Reinhart will enjoy hearing her sing new and original songs. I look forward to her next album. I love the retro flare and the opportunity to hear the growl even if it wasn’t featured on this CD. Read on for a track by track analysis.
“Oh My!” takes me to a similar place as Reinhart’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s “What is and What Could Never Be,” which is a nice place for me to be. It’s got a retro 60s feel to it and sounds like a song that the Black Eyed Peas could do though I am not sure that Fergie could pull of the same vocals. B.O.B is a featured performer on the track.
I loved “Free” when it was released, and it is no different on the CD – classic Haley Reinhart with great vocals and nothing to get in the way of her performance.
“Liar” is the weakest track on the CD. The background singers are louder than Reinhart, and the subject matter of the song is trite. There just doesn’t seem like Reinhart has much to work with.
“Wasted Tears” is upbeat. It sounds like a throwback to the early 60s. The background singers in this case provide a mellow contrast to the drumbeat. The best part of the song is when Reinhart sings with very little music to interfere with her voice.
“Undone” is a ballad that starts with Reinhart’s warm vocals and features a piano and other stringed instruments. It is a sung in the same way that Reinhart beautifully performed “Earth Song” though the subject matter is different.
The short phrasing and strong beat are the strengths of “Now That You’re Here.” It seems well fit to Reinhart’s strengths though it is lacking the growl.
On second listen, “Wonderland” is better than it is on the first. It still seems overproduced as if there was no trust in Reinhart’s vocals or the lyrics of the song. It has a Euro pop feel to it.
“Keep Coming Back” is an average track. There isn’t anything that stands out about it except the reverberation.
“Hit the Ground Runnin’” gets us back to the classic Reinhart. She kicks it from the beginning of the song, and her sweet vocals carry through to the end.
The music for “Walking on Heaven” provides a whimsical intro that Reinhart continues to keep throughout the song. It is upbeat and well done – a nice little song.
“Follow Me (I’m Right Behind You)” is an edgy song. The lyrics create an interesting contrast between each other – the saltiness of pickles and the sweetness of jam.
“Spiderweb” will catch you with its languid vocals. It is best classified as a power ballad, even if it doesn’t have the instrumentation behind it. Reinhart’s voice is all that is needed to make it such.
“What You Don’t Know” has a danceable beat. It kind of reminds me of a '70's song without the bad taste that disco might leave in my mouth.
“Let’s Run Away” is a great beach song. Featuring a ukulele while Reinhart sings about the beach and the sand makes for a wonderfully upbeat tune.