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Music Review: Sara Bareilles – Little Voice

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California native Sara Bareilles (pronounced Ba-rell-is) is only in her late 20s, but she’s already been tickling the ivories playing her first single, “Love Song”, on nearly every daytime talk show on television. “Love Song” may be her first single off Little Voice, but it certainly won’t be her last.

The extremely catchy, upbeat “Love Song” showcases Sara’s piano skills as well as her singing, and sets the tone for an interesting album (the song is more about not losing yourself in a relationship than about being in love).

More of the upbeat tunes on Little Voice include “Bottle It Up,” which echoes Jason Mraz and has a pop feel that’s both catchy and consuming, combining Sara’s soulful sound with bright piano and a sweet chorus. This would make an excellent second single.

There’s also “Come Round Soon,” which starts off sounding like Portishead, then manages to combine the sounds of both Maroon 5 and Jamiroquai, making for an interesting track that I like more every time I hear it. The jazzy “Love on the Rocks” is a bouncy track with lyrics like “My friends say I look better without you,” proving that it’s an anthem for breaking up with a guy that’s no good.

“One Sweet Love,” a ballad with a pretty chorus, offers a softer sound and gentle piano that melts into a bright and happy track. The only upbeat song that didn’t work for me was “Fairytale,” which is a metaphor for love gone wrong, and turns the prince/princess fairytale on its head. It had the most obvious lyrics of the group, which doesn’t do it for me.

The tone on Little Voice shifts with songs like “Vegas,” a Fiona Apple-esque tune that’s somber and soulful. There’s also “Morningside,” a seductive tune that sounds vaguely familiar, but I can’t quite place it, which is driving me crazy (any help here?!). “Between the Lines” slows things way down and reminds me a lot of Amy Grant, of all people. The soft and sad “City,” which has a beautiful chorus, has echoes of Sarah Harmer, and is about being lonely even in the midst of a crowd. The soulful sound is kicked up a notch with “Many the Miles,” which turns into a jazzy track toward the end. “Gravity” closes the album with a slow and pretty sound (very much like a Sarah McLachlan ballad).

At times sounding like Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, or Jamiroquai, and at other times channeling Fiona Apple, Sarah McLachlan or Sarah Harmer, with a dash of Amy Grant, Jason Mraz and/or Maroon 5 in the mix, singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles and her CD, Little Voice, have more to them than meets the eye.

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