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The Blessed Unrest

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Album Review

The Blessed Unrest is the flip side of Kaleidoscope Heart, the 2010 album that presaged Sara Bareilles' move into the mainstream, giving the singer/songwriter her first number one album and opening the door for a gig on network television hosting the competition The Sing-Off. Kaleidoscope Heart was bright and almost baroque, its arrangements lush and large, the kind of record that seems hazily triumphant — which it was, to the extent that it was following her breakthrough hit "Love Song," the kind of single that could've pegged her as a one-hit wonder along the lines of Vanessa Carlton. Bareilles escaped that fate, as that spot on The Sing-Off illustrates, but The Blessed Unrest doesn't quite feel like a record written in the wake of such success. It's moody and textured, rolling out at a deliberate pace and colored in blues and greys, skillfully skirting the edges of alienation — for as much as Bareilles can occasionally suggest early Fiona Apple, as she does once again on "Hercules," there is no chance she'll chuck it all in and deliver a piano-and-drums excursion into the avant-garde — by asking listeners to lean in so they can absorb all the details. There are moments of levity here, such as the effervescent "Little Black Dress" and the subtly synthesized rhythms on "Eden," but they're here to provide necessary texture and relief, puncturing the cool nocturnal glow of The Blessed Unrest just enough so the album opens up and doesn't feel mopey. Then again, Bareilles is such a naturally melodic songwriter that she doesn't run much of a risk of seeming insular on The Blessed Unrest and, fortunately, the feel of the album follows the contours of her melodies, so its melancholy is warm and inviting.

Customer Reviews

Best to Worst...

Sara released Careful Confessions, a great start, Little Voice, her best album (yet) and two mediocre albums that won't stand the test of time. I'd love to see her back to her roots, please Sara grab a piano and make Little
Voice 2.0, because these last albums are just ballads that make us yawn.

Biography

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...
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The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles
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