Archive for November 27, 2011

With her quirky style, beautiful voice and down-to-earth attitude, Sara Bareilles has quickly become one of my favorite artists. I was first exposed to her music through some random searching on iTunes for some new songs. Love Song was certainly a catchy hit but the rest of the album drew me into her sound and style. I have said many times that I would love to meet a woman who can sing her heart out, and playing an instrument would make her that much more compelling. Sara truly takes it to the next level with her abilities across multiple instruments and styles of music. Her music can be described as a blend of pop, jazz and soul with an occasional infusion of punk (more so through her sense of style).

After building an interest in her music, I found out she was coming to Chapel Hill, NC to play at Cat’s Cradle and I knew I had to go. She definitely did not disappoint with that concert. I was standing about four rows back from the stage and she came out to start off the evening with a little chatter with the crowd before her opening acts. She was adorable and truly made a great connection with the crowd. After Greg Laswell’s performance, her band took to the stage and played her on. With a powerful jamming on the piano, the show began and I knew this was going to be the best concert I had ever seen. The show included a combination of songs off her newer album, Kaleidoscope Heart, with a spattering of her former hits and random song from Radiohead. I left the concert buzzed by the energy of the performance and would love to see her again.


Besides the eventual top 10 list that I am getting to, I would also like to point out that she has some incredible covers that have been highlighted on YouTube. Included within her current set of covers are Beyonce’s Single Ladies, the Beatles’s Oh Darling, Coldplay’s Yellow, Aha’s Take On Me, Mumford and Son’s Little Lion Man, Amy Winehouse’s Valerie and Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay. While the last song of this list could easily be one of my favorite for my top 10, I will simply say that Yellow and (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay are just simply amazing. Here are some teaser before I get to the official top 10 list…

Alright now…I think it is time to get to the top 10 list. When I chose these songs, I left the covers out and had to think about what made each one of these such great hits. I will say now that I do appreciate some of the more mainstream hits, like Love Song and Bottle It Up, but she has so many great songs that I just had to look past what made it big. Each of these songs elicits different genres and emotions. If you cannot find even one song from this list that can become addictive, then there is no hope for your musical taste.

A couple definite quality songs that did not make the cut but are still fantastic are Bottle It Up (great hit mainstream hit), Love Song (the song that truly launched her into the spotlight), Many the Miles (another bouncy hit that either starts or ends her concerts with the strong energy it brings), Basket Case (a mellow but emotional song about missing someone special), Undertow (a beautiful lounge-like jazz song that is probably under-appreciated) and City (a passionate tune that highlights a bit of her range as the song builds).


Here are the top 10 Sara Bareilles songs as of 11.27.11…

#10 – Machine Gun: This is probably not the first song that comes to mind when thinking about Sara, but there is an intriguing quality about this song where it seems like she can just belt it out at the top of her lungs and still make it beautiful. I would have loved to here her sing this one live but maybe another time.

#9 – Bluebird: Possibly one of Sara’s favorite songs off of her most recent album, Bluebird is a soothing melody that has a bit more of the range that Basket Case does not highlight. This is definitely a Sara original, even though there are plenty of other artists that have songs with the same title. Gather your strength and rise up

#8 – Morningside: With quite a bit more attitude, this is a song that can easily get you moving. It has the feeling like she infused a little bit of funk with the sound of the guitar and the accent beats with the drums and low octave piano.

#7 – Uncharted: Definitely one of the bigger hits off Kaleidoscope Heart, the music video is actually really simple and hardly features Sara in the images. Her videos have a theme of focusing on a wide variety of people, in a sense to show an interconnectedness of life. Enjoy the Ben Folds cameo and take in her passion for taking the road not traveled.

#6 – Not Alone: Taking a jazz soul tone, she breaks out of the bounds of even the more thematic sound she showcases. She exposes her more deep, sultry side with a hard low octave piano and bouncy rhythm. This is easily a catchy song that did not seem to get noticed as well as a potential hit.

#5 – King of Anything: Serving as the song that kicked off the release of Kaleidoscope Heart, she has released several songs that have the common theme of trying to both produce and defy putting out a pop hit. Love Song was in direct reaction to her record studio’s request for a pop hit (I’m not gonna write you a love song / cause you ask for it / cause you need one) and Bottle it Up highlighted both how love songs are just bottled up and distributed as well as how love gets thrown around without appreciating it. King of Anything highlights both taking a stand against overbearing masculinity and her record studio requesting another pop hit. In the end, she still produced a great one.

#4 – Fairytale: One of her most playful songs, the variation between her original version on Careful Confessions and her first widely distributed album, Little Voice, does not matter because both versions make you want to sing along. Taking famous fairytale princesses and turning their stories on their heads, she produced a bouncy melody that she uses to empower women beyond gender stereotypes. When she was introducing this at her concert, I knew what was coming and she definitely looked like she was having fun with it on stage.

#3 – Let the Rain: Between her emotional and playful hits, she produces a number of songs that truly invoke a feeling of empowerment of either taking the next step or getting excited for something new. This song is just that, as a message for starting fresh and taking hold of new opportunities. This song gets me fired up when I need an energy boost.

#2 – Hold My Heart: Although one of her widely appreciated emotional hits, there is just so much passion portrayed both through the lyrics and her delivery. Highlighting how we all protect ourselves by being cautious with our heart, we are all looking for someone we can trust to truly love us. It is amazing how close to the studio version the sound of the live one truly is.

#1 – Gravity: There are a number of versions of this song and every one of them cuts you deep. While the music video takes a more astrologically symbolic approach to highlighting the concept of gravity (with lights and objects representing parts of out solar system), her lyrics are voicing the cries for help of a woman trapped in a challenging and emotionally draining relationship. While the two elements do not seem to match at all, there is a beautiful dance between the video’s images, her melody and the story of a desperate woman. Simply beautiful.

Well there you have it. I certainly love all of her music, but these 10 songs are the ones that have truly stood out and made me a Sara fan. I cannot wait for the next album and hopefully another tour.