Yesterday, Sara Bareilles released “The Blessed Unrest,” her follow-up to 2010’s “Kaleidoscope Heart.” It’s full of everything that we’ve come to expect from Bareilles. Soul searching ballads, witty views on life, and an undeniable positivity that she seems to carry with her in everything she does. The first single off the album was the inspirational, “Brave” and hearing the whole album in context now, it seems to set the tone. Even at her darkest moments she seems to be searching for a positive, silver lining in everything around her. I figured this was perfect for hump day music, as it’s a new release and it sheds light on an exceptional artist that is consistently creating quality music on emotional subjects.
“Chasing The Sun” is a mid-tempo, vocal driven track that builds to a powerful, beat centric chorus. A song about never allowing life to pass you by and to continue reaching for something, anything; it’s another dip into the inspirational pool of her mind. It’s one of my favorites on the album, mostly because I love it when Bareilles encourages discovery and hope with her undying passion that is effortlessly injected into the melody itself. As a lover of ballads, “Manhattan” sticks out to me in so many ways. Touching on saying goodbye to a physical location because of the painful memories associated with it, she tearfully gives away the city of Manhattan to her ex, because she can’t just stand the way it makes her feel. With horns strewn artfully beneath her standard piano playing, it has a low-key jazz feel to it, amplified by the powerful highs and the aching swinging lows of her vocals as she croons “you can have Manhattan, ’cause I can’t have you.”
While “Satellite Call” is dissonant and atmospheric in sound, it’s a step away from the sort of music that Bareilles normally produces. It reminds me more of a track that Sarah Mclachlan would have released in the 90’s. The filter over her voice is unique, the vocal melody stretches out over the slow moving beat, giving it something of an electro feel that we’ve never heard from her before. While it’s not my favorite, the lyrical journey is still Bareilles, as she lets whoever is listening out there know that they’re not alone. “Little Black Dress” has a little bit of a 1960’s barbershop feel to it that I, surprisingly, really love. It’s sort of Sara’s version of a ‘getting ready for a night out’ song and I enjoy it. The album is ample with ballads, though it’s clear that she experimented with new sounds and rhythms in ways that she hasn’t on previous releases, and for the most part I really love the new additions to her quintessential sound. My absolute favorite song is the last track, “December.” Which, if you know me, probably isn’t that surprising. It’s a ballad, heavily piano based, where Sara’s beautiful voice drips over the melody in a heartbreaking way as she sings, “December, you’ve always been a problem child, December, you run me down, right restless and wild. And I remember, you used to be mine.” Her songs bring to life a vision of New York, listening to this album makes me feel like I’m walking down the streets of my old home as the frost begins to bite at my cheeks. She is visual and honest in all of songwriting, a wordsmith in the best of ways, and I absolutely love listening to “The Blessed Unrest” in it’s entirety for that reason.
You can purchase “The Blessed Unrest” on iTunes or preview it on Spotify now!
Listen to: “Chasing The Sun” “Brave” “Little Black Dress” “December”