Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Review: Sara Bareilles, Once Upon Another Time EP
Of making an EP as her next move, Sara explains to American Songwriter, "I knew I wanted to take some time off between my records and I wanted my fans to have some new music to tide them over. An EP is especially great because there's less pressure than with a record, so it's a good place to explore and play creatively without feeling like it will define my next career move." She goes on to say that "I wouldn't say this EP has a very concrete thread running through it. It's really about picking a collection of songs that I loved."
The title track, which is the opener, is largely a cappella. Sara notes that it "is really about loss of your childhood and letting go of your past, and that's a part of my life right now, a journey I feel like I'm on. It felt befitting to name the album that." "Stay" also showcases her vocals.
"Lie to Me" is a lively track, both in in its instrumentation (including strings) and lyrics: "Run your mouth/I bet I can catch it/You sound just like a Judas." Sara says of the song, "I actually write kind of mean lyrics, but usually wrapped up in a sunny song. For awhile I was having fun with that juxtaposition, but 'Lie to Me' is a bit more direct. It sounds like what it means. It's experimentation, finding new ways to express what I was trying to say."
"Sweet As Whole" unleashes her cheeky, foul-mouthed side. It recalls Cee Lo Green's "F*** You," which Sara loves and sings on tour: "I wish I wrote that song. I just think it's so ballsy, and brash, and I absolutely love it. It's awesome."
"Bright Lights and Cityscapes" is a ballad that is right on par with her best ones such as "City" and "Gravity." She describes it as "a very emotional performance. When I listen back to that vocal take, I don't hear my best singing and I get self-conscious about that. But Ben was adamant about getting a take that had a lot of emotion, and he was right: I was sitting in the piano room crying while singing, and he's the one who made me keep that on the record." That was a good move, because this is the Sara that resonates most with me and likely many others as well.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars