Lea Michele has an out-of-this-world, beyond incredible singing voice. No one can dispute this fact. She’s also incredibly beautiful, another indisputable fact — and something we typically (albeit probably misguidedly) value in our pop stars. So why isn’t the “Glee” star’s music from her upcoming solo album, “Louder,” catching on?
It’s simple: Her songs don’t sound like anything on the radio right now. They don’t sound like anything on the radio 10 years ago, even. Michele’s solo tunes harken back to the ’90s glory days of big ballads and Celine Dion. It’s really great to listen to, but it’s probably not going to get her much radio play.
Listen to her first single, “Cannonball,” and try not to picture Dion singing it. Even Dion’s not really selling albums anymore, so how can Michele market a sound-alike?
It seemed like a no-brainer when Michele got a record deal: Popular show, amazing voice, the aforementioned amazing looks. But her voice has more in common with pop divas of the past (like Barbra Streisand, with whom her “Glee” character is obsessed, or Dion) than anyone getting radio spins these days. And unfortunately, it’s going to take more than a solid voice and solid songs to change that.
Plenty of great, talented people release wonderful albums every year, but only a fraction of them get the kind of attention that Michele is trying to get. Assuming that just because she’s on a top-rated TV show that she’ll get record sales is misguided, especially in the digital world where people can stream a song they kinda like on YouTube whenever they want rather than actually buying it. And, for what it’s worth, “Glee” ratings have been on a steady decline, so it doesn’t have the massive built-in fan base it used to have.
It’s unfortunate, then, that Michele’s album is shaping up to be a bit of a commercial flop. She’s got the talent — and she even hired songwriters behind plenty of today’s biggest hits, including Sia and frequent Katy Perry collaborator Bonnie McKee — but there’s something about her voice that feels a little too adult contemporary to actually be cool. Maybe it’s the over-enunciating theater nerd inside of her, maybe it’s just the song choice, but there’s something missing from the songs we’ve heard of “Louder,” which officially hits stores on March 4.
Why do you think Michele’s solo songs haven’t been catching on? Or have you been spinning “Cannonball” nonstop and have no idea what this entire article is about?