Heartstrings by Leighton Meester: Album Review

I know given that title I’m going to have to plead with you to read this review. Yes, I also know that by the powers that be any actress deciding to release an album should not be taken seriously. But hear me out here. Please.

I wasn’t planning to review this album, but then I gave it a listen and decided it would be foolish of me not to. Her debut album is a short one, encompassing only 9 tracks. It’s placed firmly under the genre of country, and was self released by Meester via her own label yesterday in the US.

I get that I may have already deterred some readers already by mentioning the c-word, country. I’m sorry! However, Leighton Meester’s debut album is not along the lines of overproduced country pop such as Lucy Hale or Taylor Swift. Throughout the album, both in the songs and the productions, the collection of songs sounds more like an alternative seventies inspired private recording session than any familiar country artist of today. It’s an aura that suits Meester well, enabling the listener to take her music seriously that the pop she produced earlier in her career.

That’s not to say the entire album is perfect. It isn’t it’s not as coherent an album as other artists in the genre, and she’s weaker the more poppy or copycat sounding the songs are. If anything the more country the sounding, the less good it is. Her voice is actually quite lovely to listen to, and the slow songs such as Heartstrings enable us to bask in its emotive quality fully. Will this be an album that will cater to the masses? Hardly: in fact I think it’ll take a combination of both the open minded and musically aware to be able to sort through the sounds and find the gems on this record.

But with Heartstrings, Leighton Meester managed to quite surprisingly create an album that sounds out of time. If you had played it to me without context, I would have assumed it came from some old school pre-80s artist. The fact that Meester was able to channel this in her sound makes, at the very least, her album worth a listen or two.


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