Review - Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest
If you’ve been paying attention to reviews from this blog, as well as our “Favorite Of The Year” lists, you’ll know that Sara Bareilles is a big thing over here. And why shouldn’t she be? The girl defied all odds a few years ago when she came back with another Top 40 hit (“King of Anything”, which would have won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, was it not up against “Bad Romance”).
Aside from her singles, Bareilles is genuinely one of the best female singer-songwriters this generation has. Every note filled with emotion, every word carefully chosen and beautifully sung. She may not be the biggest Hot 100 artist, but she has millions of fans. Her tours sell out instantly, and her last album went to #1.
‘The Blessed Unrest’ is her third major label album, and it is simultaneously her own brand of pop while changing things up dramatically.
Three things are most noticeable on her latest: First, the overall feeling of a loss and sadness. Second, her move to New York impacted her much more than she could have anticipated. Third, musically, Sara is looking for more.
“Manhattan”, easily the best song on the album, is this year’s “Someone Like You”. Unbearably heartbreaking and gorgeous, it’s the kind of song that will make you cry, but you don’t ever want it to stop. The song hurts and is an outlet to let everything out. None of the other songs are quite as morose as this, don’t worry.
Bareilles not only wrote music of what she sings, she also produced about 75% of this album herself. Songs like lead single “Brave” (which she wrote for a friend who had a hard time coming out) is the radio-friendly stuff that always find it onto her albums (placating her label perhaps), but this album is lacking in that sort of tune. Sara has clearly been listening to her contemporaries like Fiona Apple, as there is quite a bit of experimenting going on. “I Choose You” could have been Ms. Apple…if it were a bit weirder.
The album is, of course, still masterfully done, though it may be my least favorite of her discography. No worries – there is plenty here to investigate and delve into before her next LP.
Listen to: “Brave”, “Manhattan”, “Islands”