Known best for her Top 40 songs “Love Song”, “King of Anything” and “Uncharted”; songwriter/songstress Sara Bareilles has released Blessed Unrest her first major album release since 2010’s Kaleidoscope Heart. She had her hand in many aspects of Blessed Unrest, including co-producing the album, writing/co-writing the songs and accompanying her vocals on the piano; her signature.
Bareilles’ feel good song “Brave” is the first single off Blessed Unrest. Though “Brave” is full of energy and optimism, much of the album is contemplative, bluesy and at times melancholy. Though not a departure, she continues to embrace electronic effects to enhance her music. This is not to say she has produced any club hits, in fact these effects are perhaps displayed best on her most heart wrenching tracks “Satellite Call” and “Islands.” In each case the effects cause her vocals to resonate in a way that is truly haunting.
As a vocalist Bareilles has an impressive range and she effortlessly weaves in and out of her falsetto voice. Even though her voice soars to impressive heights, those moments have great intent behind them; no vocalizations for vocalization’s sake.
In her songwriting, she’s not easy on herself. Her songs are often intricate and at times melodically unpredictable. Her phrasing and timing are also challenging. She is an excellent storyteller with great range. Her work spans the familiar such as love, heartbreak and finding strength; as well as the more whimsical as seen in her songs “Cassiopeia” and “Eden”. Bottom Line: Though I originally borrowed this album from the WFPL, I will be purchasing a copy for my personal collection. It’s definitely a keeper.
Written by Reference Librarian Stephanie.