Monday, May 2, 2016

And the Grammy goes to...Haley Reinhart, Better



Haley Reinhart just dropped the album of the year. There's not even a close second. Don't argue with me, or I'll pound you over the head with stacks of unlistenable formula pop drivel tracks that somehow pass for music today.

WARNING: If you are allergic to heaping helpings of lavish praise, or have shitty taste in music, you should stop reading now because I'm about to launch into a love-fest review of biblical proportions.

OK, so Haley Fucking Reinhart...WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST DO!! As an original Halien who's bought every stitch of music you've ever released, I know to expect nothing less than brilliant vocals and great music from you, and am never disappointed, but even I was caught off guard on this one. 

You see, people, this girl just released an epic masterpiece. An album for the ages that history will one day place alongside the all time greats. No, I'm not joking, either. 

Her 2012 debut album, "Listen Up!", was a solid debut effort that had some great songs, so it was natural to believe that 4 years later she'd build on the solid foundation with more sophistication and edge that comes with experience.

But this??? WTF!!

Haley, this is absolutely ridiculous. Sheer brilliance. Every song is a journey, and when put together it's the most cohesive fusion of genres, eras, production mix, technology and raw, organic vocals and musicianship you will ever find on an album.

What really floors me, though, is that Haley has primary writing credit on every song (save Can't Help Falling In Love), was the executive producer, and released it without a label as an independent artist. How the fuck? Haley...you are BRILLIANT! 

I gotta confess, I completely underestimated you somehow. Yes, even as one of your most loyal and devoted fans, I was wholly in the dark as to the scale and depth of artistic capabilities you possess. I most humbly and profusely apologize for not realizing it before, and feel the need to plead for your forgiveness. 

FORGIVE ME!!!!  I'M A BAD POO!!!!

So, with that, it's time to get into what blew me away about Better LP.  You see, what we have here is a musical score. A complete album that defies the modern music formula of assembling disjointed tracks around a single to fill out an album.

It's an intense experience listening to the LP alone with headphones on and no distractions. There's layers of sounds coordinated to bring you up, stop you in your tracks, twist you in a knot, leave you hanging on the edge, and then embracing you with flourishes of choruses, anthems and harmonies that are perfectly, yet unpredictably, merged for maximum effect.

The sexuality runs hot throughout the album. The instrumentation and production are a veritable aphrodisiac that teases, excites, arouses and titillates the mind and body. The clever, sometimes playful double entendre lyrics add to the seduction. Haley's voice, though....that's the centerpiece of everything. Her passionate, sultry tone lilting softly and tenderly one moment, then deeply moaning the next, and digging in with fierce, raw growls when it's time to climax with soaring choruses. If this album doesn't get you in the mood you're dead.

While seduction is a primary theme of the album, it's by no means just a sex kitten record. There is a message throughout emphasizing the importance of standing up for yourself in life, not allowing lovers to get away with disrespecting or devaluing you, and not selling out to phonies with a good line of bullshit. Haley especially enjoys turning the tables on pretentious, narcissistic, pretty boy douchebags, so if you happen to be one you may not love this album as much as I do.

If you like classic rock, jazz, funk, soul, and psychedelic mind fuck music, and would love to see all of them fused together in an epic masterpiece by one of the most brilliant and talented music talents of this generation, then buy the damn album. Buy it now. Listen to it over and over again. Thank me for introducing you to it. And, most importantly, love Haley like I do for delivering such a precious pearl to the world, and making it a BETTER place for it.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned a single song on the review. That's because while the album is made up of magnificent individual tracks, it's to be experienced as a whole. Like a great bottle of single malt scotch, you would never separate out the individual components inside of it. The flavors, colors, accents and spices which comprise the delicious finished product are enjoyed as part of the whole. It's a delight to the senses and the mind. Enjoy the album that way, as a whole, the way it's supposed to be consumed, This is too rare, too good, and too much BETTER than anything else out there, to experience any other way. 

Anything less would be uncivilized.

Poo Out!


4 comments:

  1. But what do you really think Poo...ok, so you really like Haley! Understood...Buzz out.

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    1. I suspect you agree with me, Mr. Buzz.

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  2. I like the album, it's really good but Listen Up! was really good too. The quality of music has never been Haley's problem, it's the marketing of her music that was her downfall at Interscope. This time around there is some improvement, at least she's on a real headlining tour unlike the last era. Radio however is still an issue. Why in the world did Haley (or her team or both) choose Better as the lead single and send it to HAC radio? Better is catchier than Free but it's still not radio friendly enough for HAC. Actually I can't think of any song on the new album that sounds like anything HAC plays. But there is a format that would play this type of music - AAA. Why isn't she being marketed there? They played Free a little and Phillip Phillip's Home was a #1 hit there. So it's not as if AAA won't play Idols. Haley is not a pop artist and her music needs to be marketed to the right audience in order for her to do well.

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    1. I agree with your points for the most part. AAA radio is definitely more suited for Better. Also, while I enjoyed "Listen Up!", Better album is decisively stronger in every facet.

      That said, I have learned to be cautious with acting like I know more than the lables and artists as to what is the better business move for commercial success. I know what I like musically, and am happy to give strong opinions on it, but beyond that I'm certainly no expert.

      Ole has been very good to Haley, and the pseud-label offerings they've provided have been a tremendous benefit for her. She has clearly had full creative license to go for it in the styles that fit her influences, strengths and tastes, which is something I suspect is very difficult to get from major labels.

      The only issue I have is her album gets me so hot and bothered I have to be careful where and when I listen to it!

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