AP Music Writer
Sara Bareilles, "The Blessed Unrest" (Epic Records)
There's a sweet way Sara Bareilles sings about her breakup on her new album. She's soft on the honeyed, piano pop gems that make up "The Blessed Unrest," her voice is solid and her lyrics are strong.
On "Hercules," Bareilles is tough, singing passionate lines like: "This is my darkest hour, a long road has led me out here, but I only need turn around to face the light, and decide flight or fight." She's ready to fight for love on the tender "1000 Times," where she proclaims "'cause I would die to make you mine, you bleed me dry each and every time." And on the upbeat "Little Black Dress," she's cute and bouncy, though she sings "they don't need to see me crying."
Bareilles knows how to craft a great song. She doesn't rely on hooks to grab you in; it's her lyrics -- and that rich tone in her voice she lets out near the song's end. "Manhattan" is a slow classic and "Satellite Call" is layered with sounds and vocals, coming off like a Coldplay and OneRepublic mashup.
While Bareilles is getting over love on the 12-track set, she isn't down and out the entire time: "I Choose You," a beautiful song about falling in love, could make anyone's irritating day better. And on the lead single, "Brave," she's encouraging a friend to come out of the closet: "Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly I want to see you be brave."
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