• Pop Vicious

Bareilles’ Follow-up Not Another “Love Song”

written by: on April 26, 2011

It’s never easy coming up with something substantial to follow up after great feats of success. It seems when Sara Bareilles set out to put together a release last year, she set the bar too high. Given the reception that her breakout record received, there was a lot riding on the depth of her latest work. Bareilles’s first major record, Little Voice, made great waves as each single made its way up the charts. “Love Song” was certified three times platinum, and when it debuted in 2007 there was no place you could go without hearing it.

Three years after the release of Little Voice, Bareilles put out the bouncy “King Of Anything” single, which could be seen as a follow-up to the already successful “Love Song.” It shares the same “F-you” attitude, both empowering and entertaining. The only difference this time is there was so much obvious effort thrown into “King Of Anything” to make it sound so similar to “Love Song” that it was not even likeable. It featured a rhythmic piano beat alongside a poppy vocal backing with handclaps that was not only obnoxious but also outdated. It was incredibly easy to see producers wanted to make fans shout to the same beats, but unfortunately for them, the sound was so two years ago. Not only that, but the music community has shifted greatly since then. Making music with the intent of making money is never the way to go.

Though “King Of Anything” performed relatively well commercially, it wasn’t ever given a stamp of timeless pop momentum. It was just another single attached to the trailers of pilot episodes and quirky romantic comedies. So in order to make any impact like the singles of Little Voice (think “Gravity” and “Bottle It Up”), it was a genius move for Bareilles to release “Uncharted” for radio play.

The latest single on the charts is a neat combination of legitimate emotion and artistic strength in songwriting. It’s a dreamy, wholesome tune that’s as formal as it is casual.

Bareilles’ voice flows more steadily here than it does in her previous single, and it’s a comforting reminder of why she became successful in the first place. The tune has depth and to it as it brings together light strings and a rhythm that is catchy but so genuine.

“Uncharted” flows from fast to slow and then fast again so smoothly. The beginning attracts the listener but then establishes its power as it jumps so quickly into the chorus with solid energy and effortless force. Something special about this song is that its bridge is quite traditional. It doesn’t just repeat the chorus over an altered melody. It offers another angle of feeling as it ties together the pieces of the song. And to conclude, it drops the back beats as the piano tune and voice alone carry the final verse with character as they preface the final chorus. The single is packed with quality, something unheard of in the current chart listings.

This single makes a statement as its lyrics stand for something other than a reference to previous music. It’s a story about uncertainty and anticipation through doubt. It also serves as the second song on the Kaleidoscope Heart record, which takes its name from the lyrics in this very song. The image it brings to listeners is an incredibly pleasant and imaginative, so far away from much of what we hear on pop radio as of now. It’s a refreshing change to find classic songwriting talents in such a marketable piece.

The juxtaposition of potential and fine production in “Uncharted” is a refreshing position on the contemporary pop scene. Hopefully it can serve as a window into the future of today’s big-name decision-making in music. If everything follows along the same pattern, there could be a whole lot for fans to look forward to.