For her debut album Smash star Megan Hilty has chosen a batch of songs that, unlike most of her previous performances, are not connected to a particular character in a Broadway or television production. But Hilty says she selected the tracks for "It Happens All the Time" because she could relate to them, so in essence they are about her. At least she makes it sound that way; when Hilty advises a guy who can't pull the trigger on a break-up to grow a pair on the weepy, cello-backed "Be a Man" it's clear that she's been there. Hopefully though there have been only a couple of real life incidents that cause Hilty to be so comfortable with this set because every song, from Carrie Underwood's "Walk Away" to Aimee Mann's "Wise Up," is about the muddled emotion that surrounds a relationship about to fall apart or already long gone. Tempo-wise then everything here is downbeat, and on the title cut gently-picked acoustic guitar reflects the fragility of what's left of an already broken heart. Hilty is far from portraying the characters in these songs as wounded songbirds though; these are the voices of strong women who've accepted their fate, however begrudgingly. Hilty tackles one very famous song here in the Don Henley hit "The Heart of the Matter" but the album's real stunner is a breathless cover of Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter." Considering her presence on Smash Hilty could have used this first album to make a move on the pop tart scene but kudos to her for going with a bit of a more mature sound; it'll serve her well on or off Broadway as time goes on.
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