Through These Walls

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Through These Walls Music Poster Image
Startling talent with kid-safe messages.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

"Better Off Alone" promotes independence over a bad relationship. Some of the other songs are a lot more codependent.


The love stuff is a little gooey, but not at all explicit.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the content on Hilary McRae's impressive debut album is family safe and very, very well-performed. Lyrics about love, loss, and negotiating the disappointments of relationships stay safely in the G-rated zone.

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What's the story?

Hilary McRae is the enormously talented Berklee School of Music graduate who's made a well-deserved splash as the first debut artist acquired by Starbucks' HEAR label, usually the marketing enclave of established musicians popular with the low-fat latte set. Her sophisticated arrangements, expressive vocal, instrumental, and songwriting abilities, and lush arrangements (featuring soulful horn sections) add up to an exceptional collection of songs that make McRae sound far more mature than her 21 years.

Is it any good?

Every single track on THROUGH THESE WALLS explores some aspect of a relationship, whether hopeful, disappointed, confused, or slamming a door in the poor guy's face. Though lyrics vary wildly from lovelorn to feisty independence, the overall impression is that of a young woman stuck on love, defining herself according to how she is perceived -- and received -- by the object(s) of her affection.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between Hilary McRae's song lyrics and Hilary McRae herself. She's 21, enormously talented, and an accomplished piano player and songwriter, yet her song lyrics portray a young woman expressing her sense of self-worth as a reflection of her relationships. Do you think it's possible to be all of the above?

Music details

  • Artist: Hilary McRae
  • Release date: April 15, 2008
  • Label: Hear Music
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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