Hunter Hayes, ‘Hunter Hayes’ – Album Review
Hunter Hayes wrote, produced and played every instrument on his debut album. That's an impressive feat for a 20-year-old, but many who know him would expect nothing less from this up-and-coming musical prodigy.
The end result is a tightly produced pop-country album. As much as we learn about Hayes during songs like 'Somebody's Heartbreak' and 'What You Gonna Do,' his perfectionism on the project may be a more revealing glimpse into his personality. 'Hunter Hayes' could use a little mussing or something like a musical noogie. The 12 songs feel at times plastic, and a lack of participants leaves a tonal homogeneity.
Once these peccadilloes are overcome -- it's not difficult to do -- Hayes proves to be something of a young Keith Urban. He takes to the guitar like a bear to honey and pens lyrics that are specific yet open to adaptation to one's personal state of affairs.
'Wanted' is an early example of how Hayes just "gets it." ""Cause I wanna wrap you up / I wanna kiss your lips / I wanna make you feel wanted," he sings during the chorus." These aren't words that haven't been used before, but he pours an emotion into the story that's unique and personal.
'Rainy Season' is another highlight. This soft piano driven ballad is long (over five minutes) but worth every soulful note. Along with 'Storm Warning,' it's one that will stand out after just one listen. A few others take a few spins to set themselves apart. 'Love Makes Me' and 'If You Told Me To' are two that are more than worth the effort.
There isn't a stinker to be found on the self-titled project, but there are a few one will pass by like a roadside billboard. 'Faith to Fall Back On' and 'Cry With You' aren't offensive, but neither will lead personal iTunes spin counts like some others will. This is an album that bypasses the usual newcomer chatter. What Hayes lacks in "wow" he makes up for with a consistency most artists hope to achieve by album three.