Dean Lewis, The Hardest Love Review
by: Rudy Palma
Dean Lewis is releasing his highly anticipated second album, The Hardest Love. The ten-track album includes previous singles “Looks Like Me” and “Hurtless,” as well as the emotional “How Do I Say Goodbye” – a song about the looming loss of a parent. Lewis’ Debut album, released in 2019, went to #1 on the charts and had multiple-award-wins, multiple-Platinum-certified singles, like “A Place We Knew.”
“Small Disasters” opens the album with just guitar and voice. Lewis’ vocals are expressive, and his upper register tone is clear and conveys emotion. His lyrics are well-written, and his diction is easy to hear and understand. As the song progresses, the drums enter to add some fullness. However, their sound is not pleasant, and they are so quiet in the mix that they sound like they are off in the distance. The result is an average listening experience at best.
“Hurtless” is one of the pre-released singles included on the album. This is a robust vocal performance for Lewis. Again, the backing instruments leave much to be desired, except for the piano, which is sonically pleasing. Lewis’ use of vibrato is interesting in this selection as he varies from very fast to none, which adds interest. The last chorus has powerful upper register singing and held notes by Lewis.
The Hardest Love has its most vital moments in the previously released singles. The new tracks have well-performed singing, but the album is very repetitive in its flow and energy level. Lewis’ vocal style would benefit from fuller, more polished instrument sounds, too; this would allow for more dynamics in the accompanying parts and support the vocals with intersecting sounds and textures.