Sara Bareilles love song is a well written song and relative.
Sara Bareilles – Little Voice (Epic/Sony/BMG) - This morning my ears caught a major label offering that’s worthy of contemplation. The soulful, popster-ish Sara Bareilles swings in the same playground as Norah Jones, but less jazz-centric, or a less coldly methodical Tori Amos or Fiona Apple, following a lineage that proceeds from the playfulness of early Elton John to the boldness of a good Ben Folds offering (albeit not as eccentric, but then, who is?). And the voice is assured, gorgeously malleable, and with just enough grit to deliver the emotion her sentimental yet savvy lyric play invokes.
‘Love Song’, the lead-off track and radio opener, begins with a pounding, confident chord pattern on the piano that immediately perks ears ala the aforementioned Ben Folds, and Bareilles’ sultry, sexy throat seals the deal even before the dynamite hook in the chorus breaks the song wide open. ‘Vegas’ throttles along with the swagger of the titular city, ‘Bottle It Up’ is a catchy clarion call to young girls and their tentative love connections, and she foregoes her signature piano sound to open ‘One Sweet Love’ with some gentle acoustic guitar to pleasantly contrasting effect. She gets white r’n’b gutsy on ‘Morningside’, and tenderly reflective on ‘Between The Lines’ and 'City'. ‘Come Round Soon’ is a bubbling-under slow'n'soulful rocker while being a great spotlight for her vocal gymnastics and "Love on the Rocks' equals the Elton John side of her musical equation with its 'Benny & The Jets' sounding intro.
It's not all good news; 'Many The Miles' is sassy and swings nicely but loses points for its too familiar gospelesque chorus, and the elegant closer, ‘Gravity’, is burdened by an intrusive and sappy string section (the song is reworked from her first effort, an indie demo album from '04, and I'd hazard a guess that the original is probably superior to this version), but overall she acquits herself extremely well on this major label debut. (That series of demos and a live EP precede this release.)
Fortunately for the most part, the typically glossy-major-label production values don’t overwhelm the sincerity and delicacy of the artist herself; the core acoustic piano sound is nicely miked and generally well positioned in the standard AOR mix, the backing is solidly groove-worthy and workmanlike, and there’s no evidence of the dreaded auto-tune in her stylishly unfettered voice. In point of fact, the sophistication of her songwriting suits the platform; she's worthy competition to similarly positioned 'girls with a piano' the likes of Universal's Vanessa Carlton and Capitol's Annie Stela. Oh, and she’s engagingly pretty, too, in an atypical, pleasant way that surely won’t hinder her chances in the video marketing department.
Maybe the major labels aren’t quite the dinosaurs the new digital/YouTube/MySpace indie explosion has made them out to be just yet; had she auditioned for that abysmal, contrived, American Idol crap, Surly Simon would have immediately recognized her natural superiority and sent everybody else packing after the first episode. (A one hour season; we can only dream….)
big, sultry voices from little girls is the "it" thing now, and miss bareilles delivers. The production is derivative, mediocre pop. the lyrics are more informational than emotional, and sara's delivery is tonal but off-center. lacks the verve of Macy Gray and the strength and wisdom of Alicia Keys. to her credit, she can don teen-pop magazine covers for months with her welcoming eyes and slightly parted lips. enjoy the world of pop music, sara bareilles.