Hayley Reardon – Good (review)

Hayley Reardon – Good (Hayley Reardon) review

Good is her best yet

It’s been an amazing journey for Hayley Reardon. She got an early start, writing her first song at eleven, so she’s already been releasing music and playing out live for years. Reardon has never been scared of baring her soul, even if some of her teenage drama now seems a little trivial. Now, she’s attending college and has recently issued her new album, Good.

Right off, there’s a more relaxed feel to these tracks – she’s certainly been here before. Yet, there’s also a hint of weariness, as if the realities of adulthood have hit her in unexpected ways. This is especially apparent in songs like “Would You Wait,” where she confesses “I don’t need to be different / I just need to be ok.” She’s enamored with a boy in “Good,” yet she reveals later in the song that she still digs him “even if you don’t love me.”

This album sounds like growth and not a reinvention, and part of that can be attributed to producer Lorne Entress, who was brought back to once again elevate these songs to acoustic soundscapes. Take the sparse, spine-tingling “Ghost,” led by Reardon’s simple guitar line. Entress adds tremelo guitar, piano and sound effects, yet leaves the track sparse, allowing the track to really breathe, as she reveals “I am not lonely / I just miss the old me.”

One of the best tracks is “Paper Mache’,” which is propelled by gentle funky percussion. Her voice has grown richer, and deepened a little. We get a break from mid tempo with the bouncy “The High Road” and it’s some of her best wordplay to date.

Reardon has been heavily involved in talking with students all over the country, as she was one herself. It’s interesting to hear her look at things from a more grown up perspective now, as on the poignant “Fourth Grade,” where she interacts with a little girl who wants to be all grown up – it could easily be her talking to her younger self.

The album ends with just Reardon and her guitar with “Work More.”

Hayley Reardon originally got noticed because she was so young. Now that that’s no longer a thing, it’s time to take her more seriously as an artist. Good is a big leap forward, and it shows that she isn’t done growing as a songwriter.  –Tony Peters