Album Reviews: Lael Summer – “Burden To Bear”
First and foremost, let’s just place this beautiful cover of Hall & Oates here for you to listen to.
Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way and you’re wholly convinced of Lael Summer’s vocal talents, lets get down to learning a little more about the songstress and taking a look at her debut album, Burden To Bear.
Currently signed to True Groove Records, Lael Summer was born and raised in NYC, though now lives in Los Angeles, attending the University of Southern California’s music program.
According to Lael, her newly released album is a collection of “my thoughts, my dreams, my nightmares, conversations, observations, and memories…” What it all amounts to is an album heavy on the funk, heavy on the soul and, as expected from the two aforementioned styles, heavy on the groovy bass lines.
The music isn’t exactly congruent with what you’d expect to hear on a Top 40’s station and seems geared towards a more mature audience, despite the fact that Lael is just a senior in college herself. Think Joss Stone, but with a bit more funk.
While the album is solid as a whole, the second half of the 12 track collection is a bit stronger than the first half. Through the last 6 or 7 tracks of the album Lael displays a greater diversity in musical styling than she does in the first half.
The first 3 tracks on the album, while all good, kind of just blend together if played end to end. It isn’t until the 4th track, “Make You Whole”, that we’re treated to something different.
Speaking of “Make You Whole”, Lael’s stripped down tracks seem to be where she really shines, as she sounds current and puts her fantastic vocals in the forefront. We just wish she’d do it a bit more often. She really only showcases this toned down side on two tracks, the aforementioned “Make You Whole” and the final album song, “The Good Fight”.
Overall this is a solid debut album and shows an incredible amount of talent and promise for Lael Summer. The fact that she displays so much soul at such a young age speaks volumes. Honestly, the musical diversity issue of the first half of the album could be solved by something as simple as a bit of track list reordering.
Fans of real NYC soul music will undoubtedly get a kick out of the upbeat tracks on the album, while those not as bog of funs of the style should take a listen to “Make You Whole” and “The Good Fight.” There’s something here for everyone!