Listen up! Haley Reinhart, who placed third on the 10th season of American Idol, has a new album. This is her first studio album and was released on May 22 of this year. It’s called Listen Up! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist playing that up a bit.) You’ll find 10 songs on the “standard” album, but 14 if you’re willing to pay the extra dollar (okay, maybe it is two dollars) for the Deluxe/Wal-Mart version.
What makes me happy about this album is that they let her powerful vocals be just that. I use “they” to arbitrarily refer to all of the production assistants that must have swarmed her in order to help her “craft” her debut album. It disappoints me that the lead single and only single currently released for the album (and perhaps the only one that will be released as a single) is also the only song not co-authored by Reinhart. The track is ironically titled, “Free.” I bet if she’d been “free” to pick the lead single,that wouldn’t have been her choice. That’s not to say that I’m not a fan of “Free.” In fact, I find that it was truly built well around her voice, which can’t be said for the rest of the songs on the album.
In “Oh My!”, the opening track which features B.o.B., Reinhart’s jazzy growl was a bit harder to pick out than it should have been. It sounded like she was fighting all of the instrumentation, rather than soaring above it as she did in the majority of her American Idol performances. Her voice doesn’t need a full band behind it to impress me. Curses to the folks who removed her most popular live performances (such as her absolutely incredible cover of LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue”) from YouTube!
For an album that was put together in just three months, I’d say Reinhart and crew made some decent music. It was well-received by most critics; I’m surprise it topped at only #16 (which was during its first week) on Billboard 200. In a way, however, I’m glad that the album didn’t rocket its way to the top of the charts. I know Reinhart has a lot more where this first album came from and I want her to make it big off of songs for which she can take full credit.