Sara Bareilles, We Love You But…
This is not your standard review… or really a review at all. Take it how you want to. Sara Bareilles is one of the better songwriters of recent times, like really. Face it, ole gal has a way with words, something so much of pop music is missing these days. The rub (and you knew it was coming) with Bareilles on her most recent effort, The Blessed Unrest is that perhaps she’s too good with her words and too comfortable with her style. What? Criticizing an artist who has established an identity rather than choosing to conform to everybody else?!? That’s shameful Brent, shameful! But I ain’t never scurred! Haha!
Let me explain my stance, which also may explain the stance of those hating on SB (Rolling Stone Magazine didn’t give Sara B a flattering review). The album is ultimately pleasant enough, but sometimes Ms. B. Gets a bit indulgent and too…um… poetic and cerebral. Believe me, I love my music with some intellect, but I also like it to be entertaining. Additionally, Bareilles goes too slow for my tastes… this coming from a guy who writes songs at an average of like 66 BPM. So basically, she goes smart instead of dumb and likes lethargy as opposed to lightning-quick speed. Yep, sounds like a ‘flop’ to me! (Just kidding by the way).
“Brave” is a triumph for Bareilles, even if today’s music seems unconcerned with being inspirational. Of course after one inspirational cut, Bareilles keeps the trend going on “Chasing The Sun” and “Hercules”. Sure, who doesn’t want to be strong and totally ripped like Hercules was in Roman mythology or the 1997 Disney animated feature? BUT is that too much happy, schmaltziness in the same section of the album? Honestly all three cuts are sound, with the first two being elites, but still, maybe some moodiness could’ve provided some contrast. Oh and I failed the mention that later she’s head over heels on “I Choose You”, giving the titular lyric and overabundance (understatement) of melismatic love. I love my sevenfold amens and all, but “I choose you” isn’t exactly an ‘amen’, well unless you’re choosing God or your deity of choice, just saying!
Oh and let’s go back to “Hercules” and no, The Nutty Professor chant isn’t the least bit appropriate. Bareilles decides not to let the mythological stop with just Hercules (Heracles in Greek Mythology by the way). She continues on a ‘fantasy ride’ back in fictional history and also throws in some astronomy. I personally love astronomy, but I still have a bad taste about receiving a B+ in it in college… overachieving son of a… moving on though! Here’s the problem. If you don’t know what, who “Cassiopeia” is, aren’t you going to wonder what Bareilles is talking about? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with singing about constellations and alluding back to a nonexistent queen who was supposedly lovely but, um arrogant, but doesn’t quite build too much relatable material right? I mean, there’s many guys who want to be Hercules and many girls who’d date him, right? My point exactly.
So Sara I love you, but I wouldn’t call The Blessed Unrest flawless. However, I was surprised to see Rolling Stone and The New York Times give you a below average rating. To each his own. But keep chipper as your Metacritic score is top heavy with an aggregate of 70 currently. Also, should I mention Sara B debuted at number two on the charts?