Muzikreviews.com CD

5/1/2009

Teen sensation Lea Marie released her debut self titled CD in April 2009. You may remember Lea Marie as a contestant on this year’s American Idol. As I remember it she described herself as a combination between Hillary Duff and Madonna. She burst onto the stage with her bright smile, spiral notebook full of her own songs, and claimed to be Kara DioGuardis’s number one fan. Usually never a smart approach in this business, but nevertheless the audition went on and really didn’t go so great. Simon slammed her in his typical fashion as did all the judges one by one telling her no. As I recall Paula Abdul offered up some specifics by saying her voice sounded under developed. However before Lea walked off the stage, Kara D did gave her a parting glimmer of hope – “Anyone who writes this amount of stuff is someone who is committed to something.” Lea Marie may not have made it to Hollywood, but she did prove to the world she possessed both talent, and potential. Would this be the end of Lea Marie? Quite the contrary.

Logging in at just over 40 minutes the CD kicks off with “World of Wonders” a catchy, upbeat dance groove with addictive vocal hooks, driving melody and a rock solid chorus. Track 2: “Slowly Sinking In” is an adorable love song with a catchy chorus, impressive vocal accents and harmonies, and some well crafted lyrical paraphrasing. Right from the start it’s obvious to me this music was crafted for the younger teen crowd, mostly female between (ages 12-18). Not nearly as reckless or shocking as Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” but nevertheless a strong musical presentation in itself. If I had a young daughter I would definitely let her listen to this CD. Track 3 “My Knight in Shining Armor” has a nice euro-keyboard groove to it, complete with a pulsating dance groove, hooky harmonies, and a driving melodic delivery. Track 4: “The Player” is another impressive dance groove, with rocking guitars, solid keyboard, and guitar accents against an addictive trancelike drum rhythm.

Overall I have to say Lea Marie displays some impressive vocal abilities on this CD. From rock solid falsettos, to well placed vocal accents, to nicely crafted harmonies that compliment the CD extremely well. Trust me when I say there might be a lot more to Lea Marie than her 30 second American Idol audition may have indicated. It’s obvious Lea has good solid look to her, but what’s even more impressive is the fact that is she wrote all these songs, sings and plays piano on them. Can Britney Spears do any of that? Lea’s voice works well on all the songs, and at times flutters around like a butterfly. It should be stated that Lea takes some impressive vocal risks on this CD as well clearly demonstrating what she’s capable of. This is never more evident than on Track 5: “Memories”, where things downshift a bit musically with her slow piano intro and soothing soft voice sounding very genuine and passionate. The strong suit of this CD is it’s amazing dance addictive grooves reminiscent of Britney Spears, Hillary Duff, and Christina Aguilera. From “Am I The Only One” to “You all Along” many posses that amazing trancelike electronic dance groove, complete with hooky choruses, catchy harmonies, and driving rhythms that will no doubt be popular on the prom dance floors. But my favorite song on the CD is by far Track 9: “Your Brothers Girl”. Here Lea serves up her sassy attitude with some impressive sister-like vocal runs, and an “in your face” urban swagger. Final Track: “Love Is”: really brings the CD home with another addictive party groove, Cindi Lauper-type Hammond Organ parts, and impressive lyrics “I want my box of chocolates and my damn bouquet”. As an added bonus there is a Music Video CD also included with the Audio CD. There a 6 videos included in the presentation. As a whole this debut CD has a lot to offer, and raises the bar on other CD’s within it’s genre.

Overall I have to say this CD can go toe to toe with just about any teen pop CD out there right now. Once again it should be stated this CD appeals to a younger female audience. (Ages 12-18). But make no bones about it, it is an impressive production overall nonetheless – both the Audio and Video aspects. From start to finish it’s consistent, rock solid and as a whole Lea delivers the goods musically.

To the American Idol judges I say in all fairness, what does Hillary Duff and Britney Spears got that Lea doesn’t got? Everyone knows many popular teen artists out there lack legendary vocal abilities. But many of them get hall passes on their other areas of their talent. Areas such as, strong dancing and playing abilities, possessing addictive personalities, and yes, having a solid look and image. Kind of like, well Paula Abdul for example who never had the greatest voice in the world, but possessed a rock solid look, and some brilliant