First albums are all about making an impression and R5 has certainly made a grand entrance into the world of pop music with their debut album Louder! Released on Sept 24, 2013, the eleven-track album is a follow-up to the four-track Loud EP, which was released earlier in February.
Cover art for R5's Louder album
From left: Riker Lynch, Rydel Lynch, Ellington Ratliff, Ross Lynch, Rocky Lynch
The band debuts seven new tunes in the Louder album, including the catchy feel-good track "Cali Girls" which never fails to drive the fans wild at every R5 show. The band, who signed with Hollywood Records in 2012, boasts infectious pop beats on Louder, such as "Ain't No Way We're Goin' Home" and "Forget About You". Rydel, the only female member of the band, also finally gets her own song: "Love Me Like That" — a funky track which sees the 20 year old showcase her gargantuan vocal range.
Of course, there is also the infectious acoustic-pop track "Pass Me By", which has gone on to clinch the prestigious #1 spot on Radio Disney after its premiere on Aug 16. The single’s accompanying music video has also earned 1,120,703 views at time of writing. The music video shows the group having fun outdoors — and Riker even scores a smooch with his love interest! If you look closely enough, you'll also spot the Lynchs’ little brother Ryland in the video.
Back to Louder — the band shows that they're not just all about fun and partying as they take things slower with romantic ballad "One Last Dance" and a slightly-more-upbeat-but-still-slower-than-the-rest-of-the-songs ballad titled "If I Can't Be With You". "If I Can't Be With You" is my personal favourite, not only because the lyrics are so, so, so incredibly romantic (which they are) but it is also really beautifully-arranged. I love the intro on the keyboards! The line "No Oscar, no Grammy, no mansion in Miami. This sun don't shine the sky if I can't be with you" also stands out and it's my favourite line on the entire album. It makes me so happy to the extent that I'm not even going to be my usual Grammar Nazi self and mention that it should be "this sun doesn't shine the sky" instead. Oh wait, I just did.
Aside from the new tunes, the album also includes the band's first single "Loud", "Fallin' For You", "I Want U Bad" and "Here Comes Forever", all of which were included in the Loud EP. I won't delve into these tracks as I already talked about them in my review of Loud.
The album also brings relief to fans who panicked after hearing some rumours on Twitter that Riker would not have any solo parts on the album. Good news, guys: you're going to hear plenty of Riker on the album! As Riker would put it: \o/!
What could make Louder better would be to add more elements of rock. While R5 describes themselves as a pop-rock band, I'm not really hearing the "rock" part in this album — it's mostly pop. Sure, there are little hints of rock here and there but it's "diluted rock", if you get what I mean. As compared to their first EP Ready Set Rock that was released before their Hollywood Records days, the band are not quite the rockers they once were.
All in all, Louder is certainly an impressive first album for R5. With their unparalleled music skills and the incredible team working with them, R5's future is set for the sky and beyond if their subsequent albums are as good as (if not better than) Louder!
At the moment, Louder is only available on iTunes to people in the USA and Canada. If you purchased Louder (Deluxe) on iTunes, you'll find that Christmas has arrived three months early when you see that there are four bonus tracks: stripped-down acoustic versions of the songs from Loud EP! Hurray!
You can purchase Louder on iTunes here:
- "Pass Me By"
- "Forget About You"
- "Ain't No Way We're Goin' Home"
- "I Want U Bad"
- "If I Can't Be With You"
- "Love Me Like That" (featuring Rydel Lynch on lead vocals)
- "One Last Dance"
- "Fallin' For You"
- "Cali Girls"
- "Here Comes Forever"
- "Loud" (Acoustic) — Deluxe Bonus Track (iTunes only)
- "Fallin' For You" (Acoustic) — Deluxe Bonus Track (iTunes only)
- "I Want U Bad" (Acoustic) — Deluxe Bonus Track (iTunes only)
- "Here Comes Forever" (Acoustic) — Deluxe Bonus Track (iTunes only)
R5 are Ellington Ratliff (drums, vocals), Riker Lynch (bass guitar, lead vocals), Rocky Lynch (guitar, lead vocals), Ross Lynch (guitar, lead vocals) and Rydel Lynch (keyboards, vocals, occasional lead vocals).
Louder by R5: 4 out of 5.
Photo credits: R5 / Facebook, Hollywood Records