Broadway and TV star Megan Hilty released her first album, “It Happens All the Time," on March 12, but it only does her talent justice some of the time.
Hilty stars in NBC’s hit-show “Smash" and has starred in Broadway’s “Wicked” as Glinda, among other notable Broadway roles. Her roots are undeniably in musical theater, but she wanted to delve into the “singer as singer” role instead of the “actress as singer” role.
However, “It Happens All the Time” is the furthest thing from that. Hilty compiled a few covers that she felt best described who she was outside of the theater world with a few original tracks she chose. It seems that the album is largely about breakups. The majority of the album is decent, at best, and in no way does it display Hilty’s vocal ability. She sounds like a fleeting teeny bopper, lacking the depth it takes to achieve each song’s core.
The album kicks off with the title track and is not a good start for Hilty. It sounds like she is trying too hard to find her voice outside of theater, but the fact is her greatest strength is musical theater.
“Be a Man” is one of her original songs about a breakup. The couple is on the tail end of their relationship, and she is waiting for the man who has been pulling away to just call it off. She wishes him luck in his new relationship, but just wants him to cut it off and not string her along. Hilty’s voice seems too restrained where it should sound strong and assertive for the purpose of the song. It sounds like a song more made for Etta James or Christina Aguilera, who wouldn’t lack the powerhouse vocals and soulful underpinnings that the song seems to need.
“No Cure” is another original track for Hilty and probably the best one on the album. The song is very pop-driven, yet bluesy. Her voice suits the song, and she flows right through it with ease. It’s about having a fear of moving on after a relationship ends, not sure whether she will ever be able to heal from the heartache.
“Walk Away” was written by Ne-Yo and Carrie Underwood. Hilty does it justice, but Underwood would have nailed it on the head. Once again, Hilty just seems too reserved where she should let her vocals loose. She certainly has the ability to do so, as she proves in “Smash” and “Wicked.”
“Safe and Sound” is a cover of the original Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars song they wrote for “The Hunger Games.” Any other time there is no question that Hilty’s vocal ability surpasses Swift’s, but for the purpose of “Safe and Sound," Swift’s less-refined vocals are far more appropriate. Hilty took a gritty song about loss and turned it into something too refined, in turn taking away the emotion behind Swift and The Civil Wars’ version.
Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter” is Hilty’s best cover on the album. Her voice is still less than what it could and should be, but it seems to be the one track that she really connects with and reveals true emotion.
The remainder of the album is just the same emotionless, talking-more-than-singing, cheesy tracks. Her cover of Switchfoot's “Dare You To Move” lacks the depth of the original version. With the exception of a few songs, Hilty’s album as a whole is a disappointment. Each song has a different sound than the one before, as if she can’t find what her personal voice is outside of a character. She wanted to try it out, but it doesn’t seem like she can.