Lea Michele's 'Louder': What the Critics Are Saying

The "Glee" actress and Broadway alum releases her debut solo album.

Lea Michele hopes to make the jump from Glee star to solo artist by releasing her debut album, Louder, out March 4, with Columbia Records.

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The Fox actress and Broadway alum worked with Sia, Christina Perri, Colin Munroe and Stargate on the album, which includes "If You Say So," the tribute to Michele’s late boyfriend, Glee co-star Cory Monteith.

Here’s a sample of what the top critics are saying:

"Up until this point, Michele’s musical success has been confined to Broadway tunes and the cover songs Glee belts out," Billboard’s Mike Ayers noted. "But with Louder, she’s looking to join the ranks of Katy [Perry], Miley [Cyrus] and Taylor [Swift] -- and it’s not an unreasonable leap." Ayers remarked that Michele’s "highly trained voice" befits the debut, "and she doesn’t sound out of place within the context of the dance-oriented club anthems and soaring ballads that are the hallmark of Louder." Ayers credited the album with a 72 Billboard rating, conceding that, at least lyrically, Louder is "rather one-sided."

Rolling Stone’s Christopher Weingarten was less impressed, allotting Louder only one-and-a-half stars out of five. "As Broadway-bound Rachel Berry, Lea Michele was the brassy soprano on Glee’s two highest-charting songs," Weingarten wrote. "But her attempt at breaking out as a solo artist has been rocky." The critic added that "Michele’s show-tune-style belting is a little too perfect for today’s pop charts."

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"On some of the songs from her debut album, Lea Michele is convincing," the Associated PressMesfin Fekadu commented. "On others, it’s like she is acting." Fekadu lamented the emptiness, jaggedness and the "lack of energy" that define many of her tracks. But at the end of the album, "If You Say So" resonates: "The track is somewhat chilling and worth a listen, but while the rest of Louder features a big voice, most of the time Michele isn’t saying much."

"The title of Lea Michele’s first solo album, Louder, doubles as a warning," says New York Daily NewsJim Farber. "If you thought she was loud before, gird yourself." Farber gave the record two stars, calling it "one long diva fit posing as a performance," and compared Michele’s singing to an elephant-like "trumpet ... Her voice has more need than vulnerability, more anger than understanding."