Distributor: Interscope Records/19 Entertainment
Suggested Retail Price: $7.99

As AMERICAN IDOL has de-volved into an on-going parade of white guy with guitar winners and even blander Top 10 finalists, Season 10 did prove to have a diamond in the rough.

Her name was Haley Reinhart. She wasn’t country. She wasn’t a Whitney clone. She was an original with a jazzy sound, a great look and unfortunately too much criticism heaved on by the biased judges that made sure she didn’t get past the third position in the competition even though she deserved to be in the final two (and honestly, she should have won the thing too).

That’s what getting a record contract can do though – it can prove how wrong everyone was. Yes, Season 10 Top 2 Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina are doing just fine, it’s just that Reinhart has crafted one of the smartest and single-handedly original post-AMERICAN IDOL albums yet.

First off, the album isn’t a hodge-podge of A-list songwriters trying to impose THEIR style on Reinhart. With a year in the making, Reinhart has imposed HER style on the recording and it shows. She had a hand in penning eight of the 10 songs and there are numerous winners here.

The production value has a retro-vibe hoping to channel some of that Adele/Amy Winehouse mojo, yet Reinhart still feels modern and current without sacrificing her identity.

The kick-off single is the addictive “Free” which is a fantastic first single. It has so many different layers to it as it builds and wells and Reinhart hooks into the song’s vibe with conviction. This song definitely makes it into the Top 10 songs of 2012.

I think the other great ting about Reinhart is that her voice is identifiably Reinhart’s. So many IDOL contestants sound the same or disappear into a soundalike kind of vibe (case in point this year’s runner-up Jessica Sanchez) that it’s hard to know who they are. And with females getting short shrift the last several years, it’s great to finally find someone break out of the pack not pretending to be someone else.

Other stand-out songs include “Hit The Ground Runnin’”, “Wasted Tears” and “Keep Coming Back.”

If only producers were as careful with other contestants as they were with Reinhart, we would have far more success stories than failures. IDOL is an important show, whether true music critics want to cop to it or not. It showcases voices, not studio vocal trickery and it does find some incredible artists even if they fail to make to the end.

I’m sure Reinhart would have found her way into a major label studio with or without IDOL, but it definitely gave her the muscle to get some great songs, excellent production value and the opportunity to prove why she should have won AMERICAN IDOL – Season 10.

LISTEN UP! Is an appropriate title and worth checking out, particularly “Free” which is as perfect a summer break-up song that you’re going to get.


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Article: CD Review – Haley Reinhart – LISTEN UP!



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  1. Pingback: News and Info, Great Lakes to the Rockies, 6/17-6/23 (ROLLUP) « Haley Times

  2. Great review, I totally agree with everything you said! However, Haley actually co-wrote NINE of the 10 songs on the album (the only one she didn’t help write was the lead single, “Free”), and she also wrote 13 of the 14 that are on the deluxe edition.

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  4. Great review and I definitely agree with all of your points2. 1 of my favorites on the album is “undone”. Haley is definitely 1 of the most exciting talents ever to come out of american idol. She deserves to have a career at least as strong as kelly clarkson, adam lambert, and carrie underwood.

  5. Yes She is awesome singer we Halien love her.

    fung law
  6. Totally disagree; IMHO, there’s nothing unique about her. She’s basically an Adele, Duffy, Winehouse clone. What really irks me is her attitude…arrogant, haughty and self-absorbed. The sales speak for themselves…even among her nearly 200,000 followers, barely 10% have bought the album!? She’ll be a third tier artist, a la Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Taylor Hicks, etc. and she’ll fade into oblivion. To even speak her name in the same context as Carrie and/or Kelly is a travesty.

    • Totally Agree!

      James Durbin
    • Lewis, it IS your humble opinion. Not shared by many I would guess. Yes she is arrogant. So what! She had to deal with the likes of Randy Jackson for crying out loud. She is a real artist, not just a singer.

    • You know you love her :)

      Al J
    • Look at you, speaking ill of others you don’t even know. You sound like Howard Guy. The people who do know Haley describe her as a sweetheart and the furthest thing from a diva.

      As for your stated belief there is nothing unique about Haley, others who matter don’t share your opinion. She was invited to play on national television with Slash and Myles Kennedy, at Carnegie Hall with Irvin Mayfield Jr and at Lollapalooza with her band — before she even released her album. That album, “Listen Up!” was well-received by the New York Times. They called it “a taut album full of meaty, thickly arranged pop-soul” and declared it “convincing and fresh.”

      Haley is a young woman who enjoys singing. Others enjoy listening to her. You take pleasure in tearing people down. That’s a character flaw worse than any facial expression Haley made on American Idol.

    • Everytime I read these blatantly false comments from bitter JD fans I just have to laugh out loud. Dude, it’s been over a year ffs, let it go! Haley’s a sweetheart and there is no denying her incredible talent. Listen Up! is the best album I’ve purchase in a long long time. I love it!!! The only problem I have with this review is that the grade should be A+

  7. Thanks for such a great review of an amazing album…Lyrically one of the strongest albums I have heard in decades and Haley’s vocals bring it all together. The 4 extra songs on the deluxe CD are some of the strongest she has but all songs are great.

  8. CD is excellent. Lots of hooks and has that great Adele and Amy Winehouse vibe. The public needs to open up a little more and listen, really listen. Highly recommend a purchase of this CD. “Hit the ground running” is a smash hit. So are about 5 others. Very catchy tunes. “Oh My” should be nominated for a grammy. Nice Job Haley. Well Done.

  9. This album really grows on me. At first, i wasn’t that excited about it, but I’ve been listening to it over and over as I drive and find that many of the songs, not just Free, have multiple layers as does her voice. I can’t wait to see how she develops. I’d like to hear even more complex songs and music in the future from her, along with even more variety. Can you imagine an album like “Haley Does Country”? Remember “Blue”? She nailed it! Rock on Haley!

    Bob Humphrey
  10. Its a great record. Only thing you got wrong though when claiming that Jessica Sanchez falls to normal idol category by being unrecognizable. Thats completely a wrong statement. But anyways Haley made amazing record.

    • I know right? I was thinking, “Great review!” and then I read the part about Jessica and I was like 😐 Anyway, I loved Free amd Hit the ground running. They were my favorites. Go Haley!

    • I know right? I was thinking “Great review! Totally agree!” Then I read the part about Jessica and I was like 😐 Anyway, I loved Free and Hit the ground running. They were my favorites. Go Haley!

  11. Gotta be one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. I like the way that she has put the haley we know from AI into this album, the haley that we fell inlove with. She is most definitely unique, and regardless of what people may think there is really no one out there that sounds like her. For a first album, its way above the average standard that has been set. She is probably the most popular AI season 10 contestant, we don’t hear about scotty and lauren here in South Africa , but haley on the other hand is hugen gotta mean something? Right..

  12. I hate to say it, because I adored her on the show, but this album doesn’t have a single hit on it. I admire and respect her lack of pandering to what sells, but people getting a hook in their head is what makes someone buy an album, and to have a lengthy career, people have to…you guessed it, buy your album. LISTEN UP! Is an album that grows on you over time, but someone giving it a first listen will probably just “eh” it. Sorry Hayley, I love you and all, but you have GOT to compromise at least a LITTLE in this business. :-/

    • It’s ‘Haley’ not ‘Hayley’ and I think time will prove you wrong, I think there is a smash or two on this album, just you wait and see. 😉

  13. Lewis…You are dead wrong as are all the others with the relentlessly foolish misconception that Haley has a bad attitude!! I have gotten to know her personally and I don’t know of any performer with a more warm, friendly, gracious, respectful demeaner than Haley Reinhart, as is her entire family of talented musicians. Your TV edited viewpoint that still tries to reinforce an unwarranted gripe a year later is very tedious.

  14. I agree with everything except the parts directed towards Jessica. She was pretty great, and for a 16 year old, she deserved to win. She’s no Whitney clone. She’s Jessica Sanchez. But this is mainly about Haley, and Haley deserves to have her name shouted out at concerts. I can’t wait until news broadcasters talk about her after her 8 grammy win sometime in the near future :)Oh and also, B+? More like A+++++++

    Al J
  15. How can you people not hear that Jessica is just like every other woman who sings that type of music? That doesnt mean she is not talented, it just means that she’s nothing new. And, by the way, I don’t think she will be a huge sucess (at least, not now), because not a lot of adults will buy an album from a 16-years-old, once there’s stil Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Whitney Houston and MOOOOOORE, neither teenagers will buy it, because they don’t care.

    Sadly, American Idol is NOT a place for original singers. Is a place to find something that already exists and people are already familiar with. To found pop-y artists.

    Haley will always be an amazing person, with an amazing talent who deserve all the great things in life. Those judges were stupid all the time and I still don’t like them. This year, they tried to do the same thing, because they wanted Jessica to win, and I’m glad they FAILED.
    They want to correct the mistake for letting Jennifer Hudson go home, by giving the award to someone who “sounds like”. Stupid.


    [Editor’s Note: Amanda, having watched IDOL this year, and seeing what happened with Jessica, I agree. My comments in the story were not that Jessica is untalented, it’s that she didn’t know who she was. She was being groomed to be this big adult contemporary artist, yet there was nothing that made her individual and herself. They even tried to make her sexier — but she’s a 16-year old. Totally wrong. Who is the target demo? Adults won’t by her music and kids won’t connect because she sounds too adult. With Haley, there was this amazing transformation we saw with her last year. She took the criticisms to heart, and grew each week with amazing performances. She was unlike anyone on the show, yet, when you hear her voice, you can identify it with Haley. That’s the problem I had with Jessica. She sounds like many people, but she’s still young enough that she hasn’t grown into sounding like her. I liked Jessica, but when you compare her to Haley, it’s night and day. Haley knows who she is and her album is consistent, enjoyable and showcases what she does best. “Free” is a perfect blend of everything she does right – and I stand by it being one of the catchiest songs of the year. – Carl]

    • I agree with everything you just said and with your review!

    • “With Haley, there was this amazing transformation we saw with her last year. She took the criticisms to heart…”

      I think she listened to Jimmy but not the judges. I believe the people behind the scenes began to believe in her and that gave Haley more confidence on stage. One of the AI vocal coaches after HOTRS:

      “This entire season, she was a slow burner. Obviously, we were in the Scotty camp immediately, the Pia camp immediately, certain people, and Haley kind of grew on us. I guess that’s what we’d call the dark horse of any season. Jimmy Iovine said in one of the sessions — I don’t know if it aired — but he said, ‘People don’t understand what a good singer you are.’ It just bothered him. ‘People really don’t understand you’re an amazing singer here.’ I was so happy he said that.”

  16. This is a grammy award winning CD. Evey song is different. It is great.

  17. Great review. Love the album.
    But that comment about Jessica Sanchez is just disrespectful. You have to give props for a sixteen year old girl who did everything she can despite her very young age for being always the best that she can be in that stage. For everyone out there who thinks she doesn’t know what kind of artist she is, please watch Michael Slezak’s interview with her. She is this Adult Contemporary RnB singer (Stuttering) who happens to have a very flexible vocal ability to growl (Try A little tenderness), do an astounding falsetto (You’re So Beautiful)and do an amazing ballad (Everybody Has a Dream) and be funky (It Doesn’t Matter Anymore), and you accuse her of being lost as an artist? She sang the abovementioned songs to show everyone what she can do and it was great, that doesn’t mean she can’t stick up to her own musicianship/artistry. She’s smarter than you think she is.

  18. it’s a shame that quality music like this is not selling. this album should be high on the charts….instead we have to deal with crap like usher and Justin Bieber ruling the charts. it’s a damn shame. where is the promotion for this girl? she should be #1!

  19. Very fair review. One of the few reviewers that actually took the time to listen (probably multiple times)to the CD.
    Haley is exceptionally unique and her multi-dimensional talent is huge. From her retro vibes, to todays pop tracks, she definitely has it all. I am anxious to hear her go crazy in Carnegy Hall with Irvin Mayfield later in the fall as I think that her jazzy side is one of her most creative and strongest assets. She can verifiably be a sexy Nashville queen, a hard rocker, a dirty blues-ette, a sweet songbird or a raving pop maniac.. all the while alluring us into wanting to see her grace the cover of our favorite magazine, to make us beg to see her on television and to grace just about any stage in the world eventually, which I think will develop as the phenominal Miss Haley Reinhart sells herself, be it by image or by her musical and vocal talent!
    LISTEN UP is so complex and so lyrically creative, that most reviewers fail to even comprehend her level of creativity. I think (and hope) that her career will eventually take her to the fantastic heights that her incredible talent deserves.
    I also appreciated the reviewers additional clarifying commentary which I agree with, which actually adds significant additional credability to this reviewers credential. The only challenge that I might have, would be that I would have expected the review of LISTEN UP, to have been an A or A- instead of the B+ based on the reviewers commentary.

    [Editor’s Note: Our review scale is very tight. We never give A+ (unless something is a classic) and rarely give an A. So A- and B+ are the top for us.]

  20. Haley is an incredible talent which you should follow if you want to be ahead of the herd. She will become a mega-star and its fun watching the world open their eyes.


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