New Hunter Hayes album 'Encore': Only half new

Hunter Hayes releases "Encore" on June 18, 2013.

Hunter Hayes releases "Encore" on June 18, 2013. (Credit: Handout)

As a marketing idea, Hunter Hayes' new album, "Hunter Hayes (Encore)" (Atlantic), makes no sense. It's half new material, including his smash single "I Want Crazy," and half of his 2011 eponymous, Grammy-nominated debut, including the hit "Wanted." Considering how good the new stuff is, the 22-year-old phenom really should have made it an album. His work with Jason Mraz on "Everybody's Got Somebody but Me" is a playful ballad that could launch him as a pop star, while his tender ballad duet with Ashley Monroe, "What You Gonna Do," is another country charmer. Hayes' "(Encore)" will land him a lot of applause.


HUNTER HAYES

"Hunter Hayes (Encore)"

GRADE B+

BOTTOM LINE Country's breakout star extends his debut -- and his string of hits

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