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Review: Burden to Bear — A soul album with potential, but minor issues

By Wesley Butler     May 10, 2014 in Music
“Burden to Bear is especially precious to me because it’s my first album,” says soul/pop artist Lael Summer, currently a student in the University of Southern California’s elite Popular Music program and signed to New York’s True Groove Records.
“It’s my baby. During the writing process, I had the freedom to explore all these facets of my identity I never really acknowledged or could make sense of. I picked through my thoughts, my dreams, my nightmares, conversations, observations and memories and used the fragments of my life to piece together something I could share with others.”
Well, did Lael ever explore the facets of her identity in “Burden to Bear.” Lael did a splendid job at conveying her emotions and inner self to her listeners.
The only track that wasn’t produced greatly was “Make You Whole.” Although the potential was there, I could sense a lack of effort overall. Lael’s voice was only half-decent throughout the song, and it didn’t complement the weak instrumentals. I found myself waiting for a “wow” moment, but alas I didn’t get it.
Having stronger vocals and a more prominent instrument would have made for an advantageous listening experience.
“It’s About Soul” is arguably the best song out of “Burden to Bear.” Why? Because it’s a groovy, relaxing tune. Although Lael questions the modern day objectivity of women, you can still get into the funkiness of the song.
This is what can invoke mixed emotions when you start to understand the seriousness of the lyrics. Very seldom can a song bring out two feelings at the same time, or even one at the beginning of a song and another towards the end. It takes a special artist to pull off something like that, but it also relies on the track’s meaning.
Another highlight (and I call this one a “magical tune”) from “Burden to Bear” is “Do What You Want, Be What You Are.”
I really don’t know what adjectives to use, but for now I’ll stick with “enthralling” and “mesmerizing.”
What made it this way? This time, Lael’s vocal talent made the song what it was. When an artist doesn’t need to rely on fancy equipment (such as auto-tuners, etc.) to perform a song, then that’s the sign of a naturally born talent.
Lael proved she has the talent to go far in the music industry just with this song alone. She just needs to make sure that she can carry this out for every song she ever performs.
Overall, Lael Summer’s “Burden to Bear” captured her identity, but some of her tracks were a hit and miss. This could pose as a concern for her, because some listeners might be impatient after they hear just one song in an album that’s less than stellar.
Does she have what it takes to be a show-stopping performer? Absolutely. But she needs to be consistent with her vocal talent if she wants to make her true dreams come alive.
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