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Album review | Pop

Megan Hilty, ‘It Happens All the Time’

With “It Happens All the Time,” Megan Hilty proves that she’s better at encroaching on her “Smash” costar Katharine McPhee’s turf than vice versa. The Broadway-tested singer’s debut bears no hint of the Great White Way, opting instead for a fine, straightforward album of acoustic soul and adult pop closer to Corinne Bailey Rae, and that’s the problem. Hilty’s supple voice is far more versatile than the album lets her demonstrate; she shadows Aimee Mann’s measured, defeated delivery on “Wise Up” when it might have been a revelation to hear her open up. (“Dare You to Move,” her one full-throated performance, sounds like she’s deliberately retreated from the microphone.) But though Hilty resists the urge to belt to the rafters, she’s still too talented not to insert a rich, soulful ache into the pleading “Be a Man.” Even so, coming from television’s Bad Marilyn, “It Happens All the Time” is a little too respectable for its own good. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Be A Man”

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