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Once Upon Another Time - EP

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Album Review

Part of Sara Bareilles' charm is that she's one of the few millennial singer/songwriters who are unashamed of being polished and mainstream. She revels in rich, detailed productions, which is what makes Once Upon Another Time — a stopgap EP designed to tide over fans as she prepares her third album — a little disarming at first. Working with Ben Folds, a co-judge of hers from the NBC series The Sing-Off, Bareilles strips her sound to its core, opening the five-song EP with its skeletal title track. Things get a little bit more elaborate from there — "Lie to Me" is built upon trip-hop loops and swoons into Beatlesque psychedelia — and she certainly demonstrates the influence of the perennially smirking Folds on the profanity-riddled "Sweet as Whole," a dirty joke that bogs down way too quickly. Something similar could be said about the simplicity of the production: as sweet as some of these spare voice-and-piano tunes are, it's hard not to wish they were a little more adorned. Nevertheless, the songs are generally good — "Sweet as Whole" irritates like a piece of popcorn stuck in the teeth but the others are strongly constructed, melodic ballads, highlighted by the single "Stay" and "Lie to Me" — and Bareilles remains a thoroughly engaging performer. As a teaser, this certainly whets the appetite for her next full-length record.


Born: 07 December 1979 in Eureka, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A gifted songwriter and a versatile pianist with no formal training, Sara Bareilles burst onto the pop scene with a naturally skilled voice that ranged from powerful and soulful to sweet and gentle, earning her instant comparisons to Fiona Apple and Norah Jones. At age 18, she left the Redwood forests of her hometown, Eureka, California, in pursuit of a music career in Los Angeles. Although she attended UCLA's Communication Studies program, Bareilles spent the majority of her spare time studying...
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Once Upon Another Time - EP, Sara Bareilles
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