Rachael MacFarlane’s voice has all the qualities associated with a fine chanteuse, a stylish big band vocalist or theatre-trained ingénue. Yet, based on the variety of selections presented, there is hardly time to zero in on one aspect of her voice before the next selection veers off into another zone of musical territory. Fourteen songs make up her Concord label debut, "Hayley Sings." No wait... the bonus and hidden track, "Secret Agent Man" brings the number up to 15 tracks. Perhaps this overabundance of material is at fault for "Hayley Sings" by Rachael MacFarlane.
Who is "Hayley?" MacFarlane is known for providing the voice and personality that is not drawn in, to the character of "Hayley" on the successful "American Dad!" animated series. Taking her vocal cue from her alter ego, Rachael imagines the musical tastes of "Hayley" while cross-referencing them with her own.
"Makin’ Whoopee!" opens the set with a smooth big band arrangement. She oozes sex appeal and sass with a saxophone and trumpet solo to strike the mood. Then "Feeling Groovy" slows it down cabaret-style creating a relaxed spin for the song to good effect. It’s in the middle section of the album that the songs chosen become troublesome. "Someone To Watch Over Me" blends into a blur of countless other versions while "Do You Want to Dance?" is mistakenly given a "cha cha" beat. Several missteps in material seem out of place on this recording. There are moments when the conglomeration of creativity is better left on the drawing board. It might be considered a unique choice to slow The Beatle’s classic "All My Loving" down to a snail’s crawl, yet it really doesn’t work and the song should not be taken out of its comfort zone.
Sliced down to seven or eight tracks, "Hayley Sings" would have kept the animation of Rachael MacFarlane’s true talent intact. The impact of Rachael’s truly thoughtful and memorable rendition of "Up On the Roof" makes for a wonderful centerpiece. Utilizing "Here Comes the Sun" with guitar as a counter arrangement for the song, her rendition is truly unique. This adds a special touch to the sentiment of the lyrics and her voice fits perfectly for it. Whether "Hayley" chose the song is forgotten.