Sara Bareilles - Amidst The Chaos

Sara Bareilles
Amidst The Chaos

Sara Bareilles has been plotting her pop comeback even if you didn't know it. Since she rocketed to fame in 2007 with her album Little Voice the singer songwriter has been making music that firmly slide into the adult contemporary slot, sweet little love songs peppered with plenty of loss as well. This album feels charged with the 2016 election and the fallout after. So many of the songs feature themes of how to struggle with society and how we are supposed to operate within it. The now fully adult Bareilles is looking back at the past and wondering what it is that brought us here and how one can find their place in this new world. At times she stretches out and tries something avant garde like the lead single "No Such Thing". The song opens with a harsh piano line that opens up into a string of harps gently twinkling away as Sara's soft voice dances on top. The verses are so interesting and complex, but the chorus is just a bit too simple. That is where I find myself landing quite a bit with this album, there are things to like, but there is also quite a bit that is pretty boring. It's wonderful when she makes a distinctive choice, but she rarely does it. "Miss Simone" is such a basic singer songwriter acoustic guitar driven song that any meaning it may have is lost almost instantly. This is just a style that has been absolutely done to death and if you are going to do it you need to make yourself stand out. Sara doesn't make the interesting choice nearly enough.

There is just so little personality to this record, and so little that feels new at all. Sara never finds a unique voice like she once did. Her first records were all about being an outcast, dedciding that you just don't fit in societies norms and it might be time to pack it up and move to "Vegas". This album features none of that, no singular ideas about life or love, just the same old statements about the same old shit. I mean it is song after song that not only sounds the same, but has similar themes peppered throughout. You keep waiting for her to make another interesting choice post "No Such Thing" but that moment just never comes. "Poetry by Dead Men" has this whole jumbled message that never really coalesces into any sort of real point. It's a song for the coffee shop and vinyl set that feels way more pretentious than it actually should. There just is not enough on this album that sets it apart from any other singer songwriter out there. There no interesting turns of phrase of soaring choruses. It's just not that good, and that's a shame.

3.0 out of 10


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