It’s been a while since I presented another installment of my Replay series, where I look back at my favorite albums and review them from a fresh perspective. Featured in this edition is Lucy Hale’s Road Between.
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I previously wrote about this album for The Celebrity Cafe.com (now Stars and Celebs.com).
Lucy Hale, Road Between (Hollywood Records, 6/3/14)
While Lucy Hale has found success in the entertainment business as an actress, she actually moved to California from her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee to pursue her dreams of being a singer.
Hale, who is best known for her role as Aria Montgomery on the teen drama, Pretty Little Liars, got her start in the business competing on the American Idol spin-off, American Juniors. Hale landed a record deal through the show but the resulting album “flopped,” prompting her to move back home, though not for long. Hale wound up landing a variety of appearances on television shows such as CSI: Miami and Private Practice and even booked a starring gig in the CW series Privileged before scoring her life-changing role on Pretty Little Liars.
Much of Hale’s acting work also capitalized on her vocal abilities and gave her the opportunity to sing on screen. (She even played a pop star and her friend who switched places à la Hannah Montana in her guest spot on CSI: Miami). Having landed Pretty Little Liars, Hale eventually booked the movie musical, A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song, where she played singer, Katie and recorded a handful of songs for the movie’s soundtrack, landing her deal with Hollywood Records shortly thereafter.
Growing up in the South with a love for country music, it’s easy to understand why Hale chose to make an album within the genre. Road Between is the perfect encapsulation of what draws listeners to the genre–powerful storytelling, vulnerable lyrics, and feel-good anthems, created with a host of A-list songwriters and producers including Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, Nicolle Galyon, Mark Bright, Catt Gravitt, Kacey Musgraves, and others.
Hale dives into a place of raw emotion and relatability on the ballad, “Nervous Girls,” is introspective on title track, “Road Between,” brings angst and sass to the edgy breakup track, “Goodbye Gone,” delivers the perfect, upbeat new relationship track with lead single, “You Sound Good to Me,” and showcases a less serious side on flirty tracks “Kiss Me” and “Love Tonight.”
Overall, Hale strikes the right balance on Road Between, offering something for all listeners.
In addition to the standard version of Road Between, Hale also released a deluxe version of the album available only at Target, which featured two exclusive tracks, “Runaway Circus” and “Those 3 Words.” The Walmart version of the album also featured another exclusive track, “Come On.”
While Hale has never released a follow-up album to 2014’s Road Between, she continues to sing. Hale covered Sara Bareilles’ song, “She Used to Be Mine“–from the musical Waitress–on an episode of her since-canceled TV show, Katy Keene and also said she’d love to branch out and pursue musical theatre.
And that concludes this installment of Replay. Keep checking back to see which of my other favorite albums are featured in the future.