Review: Hunter Hayes, ‘Storyline’

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Hunter Hayes has that magical combination of talent, looks, attitude, personality, and likability.

There is nothing this musical genius could not do. Hayes plays more than 30 instruments, writes hit song after hit song for himself and other superstars like the Rascal Flatts and he is as endearing as he is talented. Above all else, Hunter Hayes is truly dedicated.

Hayes pours his soul into his new album, Storyline, and that passion is evident from the first beat to the last moment. His tried and true formula for success is found on this album. “Storyline” and “Wild Card” are just what you’d expect to hear from a Hayes album: fun, upbeat, happy songs. They are comfortable without being boring and will undoubtedly lead to even further success for Hayes. Both songs remind me of “I Want Crazy” and are catchy as all hell.

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Hayes continues to wow us with his power ballads as well on Storyline. His most recent hit single about being bullied and is entitled “Invisible.” The emotion behind this song is so powerful and you can tell that Hayes is singing a song that is very personal and near and dear to his heart. You can feel the pain in the lyrics and hear the hope for the future. It’s a beautiful and hopeful song for those of us who feel lost and out of place.

Storyline not only gives us the familiar sounds that have made Hayes a household name but also flirts with a few emotions and sounds that portray different, more serious emotions. This new album presents us with a darker side to Hayes. No, he doesn’t give us any hard rock or anything like that, but he definitely broadens his horizons. This is the first time that Hayes recorded interludes for his album which is reminiscent of classic albums of the past and the rock just bleeds through the country sound. The guitar on “If It’s Just Me” and “You Think You Know Somebody,” is electric and heavier than anything we’ve heard from Hayes.

The most interesting track on the album though is Hayes’ song “When Did You Stop Loving Me.” It starts off sounding like songs we’ve heard from Hayes in the past but it’s so much more than that. Listen to this song all the way through because it builds beautifully as the song progresses and the electric guitar really sings. Hayes follows that song with “…like I was saying (jam),” a bluesy interlude that picks up where “When Did You Stop Loving Me” leaves off. I almost wish he kept the jam as the actual ending to the song because it is gritty and deep and emotionally driven. After listening to the jam, it’s glaringly apparent that Hayes should explore using more bluesy sounds because he has an obvious knack for them.

So is Storyline something new, exciting, different, and brilliant? Well, maybe not; however, it is consistent, entertaining, and takes a few risks without deviating too far from what has made Hayes so damn successful since his first hit song, “Storm Warning.”

Now that Storyline is in the books and available everywhere, Hayes is taking on an even bigger challenge than releasing a sophomore album. He is about to tackle a 24 Hour Road Race To End Child Hunger. In an attempt to set a Guinness Book World Record, Hayes will be performing 10 shows in 10 different cities in 24 hours. I personally wouldn’t miss this tour and will be at The Stone Pony, show nine of ten. Check out the new album and if you’re looking to be a part of the Road Race, the 10 shows and their times are as follows:

May 9
8:00 am- New York, NY, Good Morning America
9:15 am- Boston, MA, Paradise Rock Club
11:30 am- Worcester, MA, Palladium Upstairs
1:45 pm- Providence, RI, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
4:15 pm- New London, CT, Garde Arts Center
6:45 pm- New Haven, CT, Toad’s Place
9:00 pm- Stamford, CT, Palace Theatre
11:30 pm- South Orange, NJ, South Orange Performing Arts Center

May 10
2:00 am- Asbury Park, NJ, The Stone Pony
5:00 am- Philadelphia, PA Trocadero

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