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Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes Live – 2012 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Sam Gazdziak

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CDs by Hunter Hayes

There is one reason why a Hunter Hayes live album is a bad idea. It's not because of his music, which is pop-country with a severe emphasis on "pop," but very catchy. It's not because of his vocals, which are reminiscent of Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox after inhaling helium but pleasant nonetheless. It's because of the audience.

If you love the sound of hundreds of teenage girls screaming in unison, this is a must-buy for you. They scream at the beginning and ending of every song. They squeal for every guitar solo, every bit of audience chatter, every unnecessary vocal run, every dramatic pause for effect. Sometimes, they shout for no apparent reason at all right in the middle of a song, as if being in the presence of Hayes is so overwhelming that they just have to let the excitement out somehow. It's a bit distracting, especially if you are not a teenage girl yourself.

That aside, Hayes' five-song EP covers his hits, including Storm Warning and Somebody's Heartbreak as well as a couple of album cuts from his debut album. For those familiar with Hayes only through his singles, More Than I Should is a surprisingly bluesy rocker that will sound even better if Hayes develops a little bit of grit in his pristine voice.

While the EP may be ideal for a diehard Hayes fan, those looking to discover his music would be better off buying his studio debut instead. There may not be as many extended guitar solos on the studio tracks, but the lack of a shrieking teenage girl audience will save you from at least a few headaches.