Haley Reinhart said she felt “at ease” with the fact that she finished in third place on last year’s 'American Idol'. That easy, breezy temperament and calm attitude that twenty-one year old Haley possessed during her season shines throughout her debut album ‘Listen Up!’.
Haley Reinhart grew from the underrated underdog to a fan favourite during her time on Idol, performing stellar cover versions of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ Elton John’s ‘Benny and the Jets’ and Gaga’s ‘You and I’ before it was even released. Travelling down a number of different musical avenues in front of the camera and the judges I had no idea what to expect when I heard she was signed to Interscope records, the same label as the eventual winner in the same season, Scotty McCreery.
The album is a jazzy throwback that’s part Dusty Springfield, part female Cee-Lo Green, which isn’t a style that is unheard of today, although magically the album is able to stand out and separate itself as a great filler-free piece from a former Idol contestant. ‘Listen Up!’ hits you in the face with its opening track ‘Oh My!’ featuring B.O.B, who connects with Reinhart perfectly despite their distinctly different musical styles. Reinhart’s fantastic voice takes us through ten tracks about the good (Now That You’re Here) the bad (Wasted Tears, Undone) and the messy (Free, Liar) sides of a relationship; you hear the power in her voice in the good, the desperation in the bad, and the quizzical yet confident in the messy.
ETA: Reinhart is the third non-winner of Idol’s tenth season to release a full album, after runner-up Lauren Alaina, and overall Haley she should be happy and at ease with the fact that she came third. If not, we might not have had this great album.
Key Tracks: Oh My!, Free, Undone