Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest
July 16th 2013
Recommended if you like: KT Tunsall, Matt Nathanson, Colbie Caillat
Sara Bareilles is not your typical major record label singer. Her first hit, “Love Song,” was a song written when she was pissed at herself for trying to write a song she thought the label wanted. The results? It went 4x platinum. She is also known, perhaps infamously, for her foul mouth. During her time on “The Sing Off,” there were numerous times she was censored and realized a little too late what she had said. Despite all of her significant success, the singer is rather humble and consistently thanks her fans via social media. In addition to all of this, she has been the main songwriter for every song on all three of her albums, a rarity among singers with Top 40 radio hits.
Bareilles starts out strong with the signature piano-heavy style and melody driven single “Brave.” The earworm catches your attention from the opening staccato piano chords and carries strong through the entire song. The accompanying music video shows Bareilles’ character as well as giving a perfect visual picture for the song’s inspiring lyrics.
Many of the songs wade into uncharted territory for Bareilles as they include some synths, sampled drum beats, and the occasional bloops and blips. In fact, some faithfuls of Bareilles’ past work might have to do a double take when first listening to songs like “ Eden” and “I Wanna Be Me,” but her bold attempts to break away from the typical female radio voices has certainly been noticed. She really hits her stride on the fan favorite “I Choose You,” with a great mix of orchestral strings and giving an almost a cappella feel with the background choir of vocals.
A few songs on the record miss the mark just a little, such as “Hercules” and “Cassiopeia,” with the latter giving the feeling that Bareilles is trying to include just one or two too many new things in a song.
Overall, the record sounds like Bareilles is really growing as both a songwriter and a musician, but still has plenty of room to continue growing. After two huge releases, with 2007’s Little Voices going platinum and 2010’s Kaleidoscope Heart reaching number one on the Billboard Top 200, she might have a hard time reaching the stratosphere for a third time.