Review: Better by Haley Reinhart

Better by Haley ReinhartMy one reservation with Listen Up!, the debut album from American Idol favorite Haley Reinhart, is the insistence to put her in this box of retro-flavored delights. It’s not a bad thing, but her debut focused too much on it. Four years later she returns with Better, an album that, while still inconsistent in places, shows that she can (and always was able to) bring her thing to a more modern setting. Everything feels booming; everything feels strong. Well, save for a mid-album stretch that returned to Haley’s more relaxed sound and ended up sticking out like a sore thumb. But tracks like “Better”, “Talkin’ About” and the completely sublime “I Belong With You” – that song’s a perfect storm, or maybe it’s my thing for sweeping end-credit songs – demonstrate (I risk gushing here) a timelessness that Haley is finally free to explore. [NB]4/5


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