Sara Bareilles’ ‘Amidst the Chaos’ Displays Musical Duality


Photo Courtesy of Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles’ new album ‘Amidst the Chaos’ showcases her talent and range in different music types and topics.

Folk and pop artist Sara Bareilles, known for writing hits such as Love Song, released her new album, Amidst the Chaos, on April 5. The album covers a large range of topics with empowering tunes which fit any mood and time. There is a large emphasis on Bareilles’ voice, which she doesn’t allow to be overpowered by the background track. A listener can hear her wide range, from smooth low notes to a light and airy falsetto. The tracks show a new style of music from her while also retaining notes from her older albums, giving the music a nostalgic feel.

Right off the bat, the album catches your attention. It starts with one of the singles she released earlier, Fire. After a soft start with a steady beat and humming, Sara Bareilles gives the song life with a constant rhythmic background and smooth voice. About a relationship that never worked out, this is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. Fire proves that you don’t need to have a incredibly loud, strong voice to make an impact on people, as seen by her impressive runs and the great buildup to a rousing and upbeat chorus. Once it ended, I was more eager than ever to listen to the rest of the album.

Right afterwards was No Such Thing, a song with an intriguing, tinkly melody, in contrast to the first song. The track was overlaid with lyrics about about the aftereffects of a emotionally intense relationship and it helped showcase the wide variety of sounds on the album while keeping the common theme of emphasis on the words and notes instead of the instruments in the background.

One of the other songs I found interesting was Armor. The strong bass line and odd rhythms made the song special. Bareilles’ voice carries a quiet power, making it perfect for this uplifting feminist anthem. It’s a call to war for women, though some may find it controversial due to the way she questions the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Nevertheless, I think it’s very uplifting and makes girls feel proud of who they are.

Eyes on You brought another interesting perspective into the album. The lyrics talk about mental disorders as well as how everyone goes through problems in their daily lives. It immediately starts off with drumming and a low guitar riff, followed by the quiet wailing of an electric guitar. The darker quality of the music and Bareilles’ use of the lower part of her range instantly captured my attention. Earlier songs on the album had already established she could sing high but the way she went down effortlessly gave it a honey-like feel.

The rest of the album was similar in sound, reminding me of music by Amy Winehouse. It was still good to listen to, but lacked the interesting variety which made up the first half of Bareilles’ album. While the rest is easily music I could sing in the shower or dance to, this half is something I would listen to while doing homework. The similarity of the songs make it good for background music, and less distracting. Despite a little bit of monotony, a few songs like Orpheus and Poetry by Dead Men still managed to stand out with their quirky rhythms and lyrics. The album ended on a peaceful, hopeful note, with a song called A Safe Place to Land. What made it an even better finale was John Legend’s appearance in it, his earthy vocals blending well with Bareilles’.

Overall, Amidst the Chaos was an amazing experience and I enjoyed almost every minute of listening to it. I like the rawness of Bareilles’ voice and how she can manipulate it for whichever  mood she’s going for. The songs are connected with the soft, repetitive instrumentals and choir-like background vocals but there’s enough diversity in the themes and ways she sings that the album isn’t dull. I would recommend this to old and new fans alike, and to anyone who’s just looking for something fun to listen to or wants to broaden their music taste.