Should “Forever” Really Last Forever


Lea Michele Sarfati, known professionally as Lea Michele, has had quite an extensive musical career. She first started on Broadway as a child star in 1995, where she played Young Cosette in Les Miserables. Soon after high school, Michele had her big break playing Rachel Berry in Glee, which later led to her role in Scream Queens. In 2014 the young performer switched from singing other’s songs to writing her own, at which time she released her first album- Louder. Over the next five years, Michele put out two more albums, Places (2017) and Christmas in the City (2019). All three albums received exceptional ratings, despite her complex personality earning her a fair amount of hate. 

In early November 2021, Michele came out with a new album and a new mood. Her most recent album, Forever, has done a complete 180, from her past pop tunes and ballads to lullabies for her new son, Ever. In an interview with People, Michele talks about how each song played a significant role in her journey with Ever. Whether it was the first song she listened to when she found out she was pregnant or the first song that sang her newborn son to sleep, the tracklist holds a special place in Michele’s family’s hearts.

Forever has a very comforting sound; all the songs are done with acoustic guitar and light vocals. Contrary to Michele’s other albums, these lullabies have little to no layering. This provides a soothing tone as if her voice is a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold winter day. 

Michele’s previous albums received above 95% likes by google users. Does this album deserve as much recognition? Of this eight-track cover album, which songs should be eternally on repeat, and which should the young mom have left alone?


#8: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Over 80 years ago, Judy Garland sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz, and it became an instant hit. A few decades later,  Israel Kamakawiwoʻole added some ukulele, becoming popular once more. Lea Michele’s cover is closer to the original but lacks depth. This new cover is a little over the top, with the blending of notes and flare techniques that make the song somewhat hard to listen to. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” has always been a song of magic and hope, a song that makes people smile. Unfortunately, Michele’s vocals did not match that expectation, bringing more flinches to my face than moments of bliss. Her attempt at livening it up backfired, and I would not recommend that this song be added to anyone’s playlist. 


#7: 1000 Years 

“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri is one of my favourite songs of all time. With love flowing out of every note, and a melody that plays itself in your head for hours on end, it’s no surprise that this song is one of the top 60 most listened to songs on Youtube. There are hundreds of renditions of this heartfelt ballad out there, many of them worthy of credit. However, Michele’s rendition should not make that list. While she has done other well-performed covers of Perri’s songs, such as her “Jar of Hearts” cover on Glee, Michele’s voice is not suited for this particular one. Her breathy style takes away from the song’s flow, and some prolonged notes from the chorus lack the love needed to convey the song’s emotion. When Michele released the tracklist for her album, I was thrilled to learn that she would be covering one of my favourite songs. However, I am thoroughly disappointed with the new cover.  


#6: Songbird

This song was initially written by Fleetwood Mac back in 1977 and has been covered many times since its release. After listening to the original version and comparing it to older covers from other artists like Eva Cassidy, I think Lea Michele performed this song beautifully. Much like her other songs, this was done with minimal layering and acoustic guitar, giving it a delicate and personal feel. However, I don’t think this song suits Michele’s voice. Her voice is usually as clear as a freshwater creek, and every note is intentional. Everything is a little rougher in this song, almost as if she’d been crying while singing. Some may appreciate this stylistic technique, but it is supposed to be a lullaby, so I feel it takes away the warmth and tenderness.


#5: Yellow

Over 20 years ago, a young band named Coldplay released this song in one of their first albums. During those last couple of decades, “Yellow” has been played on nearly every radio station and can’t be forgotten. Neither Michele’s version nor the original have anything that particularly stands out or makes this a masterpiece; however, it is still a touching song. Michele does an excellent job of encapsulating her love for her son and elevates the simplicity of this song with an element of elegance. All in all, this song is well sung, has pleasant orchestration, and is a decent song but does not stand out in any particular way. 


#4: Sweet Child Of Mine

Of all the songs on this Forever album, this was the one I was the most curious about. I was utterly intrigued when I heard Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” would be interpreted for a lullaby album. How could this song go from electric to acoustic guitar? This number did not disappoint me at all. I’m still engrossed in this minimalistic cover every time I listen to it. Some Michele’s “ooh” s and “ah” s give instant goosebumps and require rewinding and relistening to experience that bliss again. Many songs have been covered in this style by stripping the original of everything that makes it rock. Michele’s cover blows them all out of the water. While her cover is stunning, it can not compare to Guns N’ Roses despite its eternal delicacy. 


#3: Lullaby

When I hear someone say Billie Joel, I think “Uptown Girl” and “New York State of Mind,” both of which are opposites to this piano-heavy lullaby. Even though both Michele’s version and the original are sincere and toned down, Joel’s heavy-handedness in the first gives a more desperate feel. At the same time, Michele has a lighter tone. This is the only song on her album that does not feature guitar and is accompanied by piano. Even sitting on a hard plastic chair disappears when listening to this song- you can be swept off your feet and instead in a world of fluffy pillows, soft white blankets, and peaceful dreams. 


#2: Here Comes The Sun

One of the most well-known songs on this album, The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun,” is a classic that nearly everyone has listened to at least once. While I won’t compare the two or say that Michele’s should replace the original, I will give it the praise it deserves. This vintage song has been covered in a fairy-light way that brings smiles and gratefulness to listeners. The soft, tender piano can add a touch of warmth to the cover, which gracefully blends with the simple harmonies. In addition, details such as a few carefully placed hums and smooth register changes add a quality of magic to this beautiful song. There is nothing that I would change to Michele’s cover, and it could very well be a lullaby passed down for generations. 


#1: Oh, What A World

The second I heard this song, I immediately fell in love. Although it was written and released by Kasey Musgraves just a few years ago, Michele’s version easily tops the original. Regardless that this may be the least traditional lullaby, the gorgeousness of the guitar, the clarity of Michele’s voice, and the feeling of euphoria that comes with it makes this one of the best songs released this year. In some of her Forever songs, the broadway artist’s flair for the dramatic can take away from the music. The chorus of Lea’s song can only be described as ethereal perfection and unattainably exquisite. There aren’t enough praises to explain the impeccable meticulousness and eternal beauty of “Oh, What A World.”


All things considered, this album is very well done. Michele has a mix of tenderness, graceful melodies, older and newer works, beauty and pain. This light album is very different from the award-winning performer’s other works but is nothing to complain about. I would not add some of her songs to my playlist; some I would add a hundred times to repeatedly experience their elegance. Lea has stated numerous times that “Uniqueness is what makes you the most beautiful,” which perfectly sums up the ethereal beauty of Forever.

Uniqueness is what makes you the most beautiful”

— Lea Michele