The Light

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When love hits you, no really hits you, every part of life seems inconsequential, and very little seems rational.  The Light is one of Sara’s most powerful songs and one unsung hero tucked away in the shadows of Brave, Gravity or Love Song. But make no mistake this song is heartbreakingly beautiful and fully deserving to be near the top of her discography. When you realize that you are looking into the eyes of the one you love everything seems right.

Her lyric “who I was without you, I can do without” sums up the power of this song and finding your true love. A mere nine words that articulate the realization that life didn’t matter before the moment you realized that the one you love has been in front of you the entire time. Have an education or a job? Have a lover, spouse, dog, mailbox, dry cleaning bill, leftovers in the fridge, a credit card bill, or an overdue library book? Well, it doesn’t matter anymore.  All that matters is that you want to be a part of this new found life so badly the players in this song will go back on there own rules, morals, values, etc. just to be. If you’ve ever been passionately in love with someone, whether that love is good or bad, you can understand this feeling.

The piano arrangement in this song is off and running.  Like the flutter of a new love, it never stops.  The piano mimics the emotions of new love. It’s like butterflies in the stomach, bumps on the forearms, and a racing mind that again, never stops.

In this song Sara writes that the past no longer exists. It’s only the future now that matters because you are reborn and ready to finally live life, for you are now at the side of the person you need to be with until life calls you home. To the light.

 

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She Used To Be Mine

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There are times when I think that Sara has a direct window into my soul.

She Used to Be Mine is her newest song off her upcoming album What’s Inside: Songs From Waitress, and is the instant signature track from the musical score that she’s written for the stage production titled, Waitress. It’s a stage adaptation of the 2007 movie that bears the same name starring Keri Russell. Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a woman who works at a diner, is stuck in a stifling, abusive marriage, and yearns for the better life that she dreamed about when she was younger. Then she learns she’s pregnant. In this song Jenna reflects on her current situation. Reality sets in. She is broken. Defeated. She is at a crossroads. She finds herself in a position in life that she didn’t expect, ask for or want. Within the lyrics she is coming to terms with the dreams and qualities that she feels that she has lost about herself. Her introspection is something we can all relate to. Life rarely works out the way we expect. Especially when planned as bright eyed kids with our entire lives ahead of us. Personally I relate to these words an uncomfortable amount. It’s a reoccurring pattern I’m finding with most of Sara’s music.

In the first verse Sara is articulating what most of us can relate to. That life has not worked out as hoped. The chorus is sung as if she is singing back to her former self that she’s trying to desperately remember. It’s a moment similar to a someone trying to breakthrough the syndrome of amnesia. As if reflecting back on the past will somehow spark the memories she needs to change the present. The second verse becomes a bit more poignant and her tone changes as the subject matter becomes more adult. The internal fight between former self with dreams, and current self with realities is combative, and in the end, she returns to the chorus worn out and beaten. Ready for the reality and fears brought on by the leads impending unexpected motherhood. What I love the most about this song is how much control that Sara demonstrates in her voice. She never over-sings and seems to know just how much to push the volume to convey raw, authentic, gut wrenching emotion. It breaks your heart in a way that is true Musical Morphine. Sara is a master storyteller with her lyrics and her voice is the picture book that keeps us turning the page. Waitress opened on August 2nd in Massachusetts at the American Repertory Theater and ran until September 27th. The reviews were positive as expected. I can’t wait to see Waitress when it finally makes its way to Broadway.

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Waitress
Book by Jessie Nelson
Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Based upon the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly
Choreographed by Chase Brock
Directed by Diane Paulus

Official Synopsis:
Jenna, played by Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), a waitress and expert pie maker, is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must choose between her commitments and her dreams. Her customers, co-workers, and the town’s handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness—but Jenna ultimately has to decide for herself. This poignant and uplifting new musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the courage it takes to pluck a long abandoned dream off the shelf. Featuring music and lyrics by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”) and directed by Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland).

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Morningside

I’m going to come out and say it. Morningside is about sex. And the guilt that follows a night of, ahem… passionate love.

When your single and have no real desire to settle down the acquisition of the fuck buddy comes into play. (I feel comfortable using the word fuck in this post since Sara uses it at least a dozen times during each performance.) The fuck buddy is that friend with benefits that maybe you see once a month, or if you’re lucky, once a week.  There’s no real mental attachment. But what happens when one person in this relationship starts to fall for the other? If not reciprocated it can be an eye opening realization that you aren’t getting what you really want out of love. But old habits are hard to break, especially when they bring rain you desire.

Morningside is the metaphor Sara uses to describe the realization that you have fallen again to the temptation to that certain someone that you know will never be more than a fuck buddy. The morning after when your cuddling under sheets, each is reminded of the real person you are with. The sun is up. Sight is clear. Hair is messy. Breath is bad. Heads are free and clear of alcohol. The only thing that remains is a slight headache and the sting of forgetting not to forget.

Morningside is the first and only song on Little Voice that features the The Rhodes piano, which was a popular instrument in jazz music in the late 1960s. Musical legends like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were advocates of its sound. The amplification of the strings allowed them to be heard much more easily in groups when compared to an acoustic piano. I have to think the usage of the Rhodes piano by Sara was more than just a producers choice. Perhaps it’s inclusion is to amplify her message that in times of weakness her internal resolve needs to amplified in order to break the habit of having someone get to her on her Morningside.

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Inside Out

Inside Out is the first of four live recordings that close out Sara’s debut album Careful Confessions. The first seven songs leading up to Inside Out have introduced a tortured soul. Someone who’s battling obsession, a failed love, a lost love, is at times vulnerable and exposed emotionally, or has major anxiety over what society expects. In the lyrics of Inside Out Sara conveys the message of strength in the self-realization of all these weaknesses. It’s within the culmination of this reality where she understands that she’s not perfect. She accepts her faults, and that she’ll never have the answers to everything that holds her down.

Some days are perfect, and some simply could not get worse.
Some days it’s all worth it, and some days this life is nothing but a curse.

She has two choices: Allow hardships she’s battling to suck her into a self-loathing abyss or she can fight off the negativity by loving inward, accepting her faults and growing. I love the juxtaposition of emotions at play in the lyrics. Insecurity vs conviction. Vulnerability vs. courage. A tired soul vs. inner clarity. Alone vs. mentally strong. She gains strength by allowing adversity to clock her on the chin, and after she cleans the blood from her lip, she recharges her spirit from within. Because at the end of the day she only needs to be accountable to herself. It’s her life. Her choices. Her destiny. She stands tall though she’s small. She breathes in a lung full of cool air and smiles, because she’s alive and tomorrow’s a new day.

I know what I’m not… and you can’t drive me away… it’s only rain.

And just like the rain, Sara knows the rain will eventually stop, revealing the clear blue skies and warm sun overhead.