Lael Summer Bares Her Soul in “Life in Color”
In her latest album titled “Life in Color”, the young artist Lael Summer showcases her remarkable voice, falling a bit short in lyricism. Although this is certainly a problem many artists struggle with early in their careers, it definitely shows more when the potential for greatness is definitely there but is hampered by an unfortunate lack of songwriting ability.
The album begins with “Nothing Better”, wherein Lael lists the guilty pleasures in which she indulges while living in New York City. Although an idea ripe with possibilities, as movies, music, books and the like, have proven time and time again, Lael somehow fails to capitalize. She sings about “cigarettes” and “dish rags”, which, for a lack of a better word, are quite boring. By the end of it all, you are left wondering why she couldn’t find a track more fitting for her talent. I could be wrong, but with lines like “I have this guilty pleasure for fake sugar and coffee”, I won’t be holding out for a second opinion. It seems as though Lael literally went about her day with pen and paper in hand to write this “song”.
However, there are definitely standouts in the album (How could there not be? Her voice is spectacular). If you listen to “Life in Colour”, you may feel as though the track could be playing on the popular airwaves already, as you listen to Lael flex her remarkable range and groove melodiously to the sultry saxophone in the back. Honestly, it’s a far cry from “Nothing Better”, and is ironically much, much better whole speaking to the “soul” genre the NYC-born-and-raised artist could possibly reach the top of.
But of course, you just can’t skip over “Count My Blessings” if you were to pick the track on the album. This song is absolutely outstanding, and you definitely feel as though you’re listening to a Broadway musical right out of your earphones. While these two tracks definitely showcase Lael’s soul, there are also glimpses of the potential she has for the pop music charts (Look out!). Although it is a song about rejection and “hitting a wall” in that department, there’s certainly something uplifting about it and the strength she feels regardless of frequent failure. It is a far cry from the first song on the album.
However, beyond these last two tracks, the level of quality regrettably drops. We are left with songs like “Dream Machine” which again falls short of any type of lyricism which would tickle my imagination or arouse my emotions. In other words, this track leaves me wanting to hear Lael sing songs which do justice to her tremendous talent and vocal range. It seems regrettable that “Dream Machine” was penned by a Pulitzer prize winning poet (really?), which I think speaks more to the sometimes tricky transference of art from medium to medium. In this case – it did not translate very well at all.
In the end, I really only found reason to like to 1/3 of the six tracks of Life in Colour. If you have time however, it would be wise to drop by her Soundcloud to form your own opinion on her lyricism. For now, my own opinion stands: Lael Summer is a songstress of tremendous talent and potential, someone who has all the time in the world to improve upon her lyricism which is the only part of her arsenal that is lacking.