Bareilles' latest album delivers hope 'Amidst the Chaos'
Courtesy of Amazon
To fans’ delight, Sara Bareilles returned with her sixth studio album, “Amidst the Chaos,” on Friday, April 5, after taking a break and delving into the world of theater. Her intimate, raw and timely stories, told through the album’s 12 heartfelt tracks, are a refreshing contrast and bright light in today’s world.
The Grammy-nominated singer spent time during her six-year hiatus on the Broadway stage, adapting the movie “Waitress” into a Tony-nominated smash hit in which she herself starred, as well as taking on iconic roles like Mary Magadalene in NBC’s live production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Ariel in the Hollywood Bowl’s “The Little Mermaid.”
“Amidst the Chaos” draws influence from current events, particularly the political climate in the United States, which Bareilles openly shares her opinions about over social media. In interviews before the album’s release, Bareilles revealed that the Women’s March of 2017 was a huge inspiration for her in composing this album, as reflected in the first single, “Armor.”
The album begins with “Fire,” which touches on the bitter end of a relationship and coming to terms with what was never going to be, despite what was desired from a partner. The beat of the chorus sticks with you and is the perfect first track as it immediately reels the listener in. “We were, we were never gonna catch fire / We’d have burned up in the flames / Long before they ever rose up higher / Someday I won’t have to feel the cold / But I do now, so I’ll know / What it feels like when I feel fire.”
Bareilles exposes her raw vulnerability in the next track, “No Such Thing,” a soft melody that tells the story of a love that can’t be erased. “No such thing as over you / I don’t want it anyway / I wouldn’t even try to / If I don’t let go, then there is / No such thing as over this / I’ve tried to get over you, over you, over you.” The simple instrumental track behind her emotional lyrics transports the listener back to a time of true love – love you can’t quite shake.
While the album lacks the instant pop sensation that her previous album, “The Blessed Unrest,” carried with its multi-platinum track “Brave,” the album’s seventh track – “Wicked Love” – brings back Bareilles’ popular heavy piano melody that perfectly combines her old sound with a mature and vulnerable new take.
Bareilles took to social media in the days leading up to the album’s release to briefly describe what each song was about. “Orpheus,” as she put it, is her “gentle prayer for the world right now,” with lyrics that soothingly remind the listener of all the love that still exists despite the darkness and chaos: “Don’t stop trying to find me here amidst the chaos / Though I know it’s blinding, there’s a way out / Say out loud / We will not give up on love now.”
In another message to the world, Bareilles partners with her “Jesus Christ Superstar” co-star, John Legend, in the album’s closing track. “A Safe Place to Land” was inspired by the border crisis after Bareilles saw footage of immigrant children being taken away from their families.
Bareilles poured her anger over this situation into a moving four-minute ballad that, while it is a call to action, is also the perfect blend of mellowness and resilience. Bareilles and Legend’s voices blend perfectly in this tear-provoking song, creating a perfect close to Bareilles’ emotional return to the pop genre. “Amidst the Chaos” manages to stay with you long after the music ends and leaves you craving more.