Sara Bareilles – Once Upon Another Time

Sara Bareilles - Once Upon Another Time

Album cover for Once Upon Another Time by Sara Bareilles

For what will likely serve as an in-between between records, Sara Bareilles has put out a five-track EP of songs that wouldn’t have fit in with the sound of her previous records. Once Upon Another Time focuses less on the melodic aspect of her songs that have helped make her a recognizable name since she broke out several years back with songs like Love Song and King Of Anything. Instead, the focus is on her startlingly strong vocals. Something that had been alluded to before in her prior recordings, specifically on the track Gravity, but not to the extent that she presents here.

Immediately, Sara’s singing takes main stage on the first track, Once Upon Another Time, where the first half of the five and a half minute recording is Sara a capella. Here she shows off her slightly jazz-infused vocal stylings in a song about the discovery of no longer being restricted. Much like her breakthrough single Love Song, this song can be interpreted as being autobiographical about her recording career in which she has the freedom to do projects like this one without being required to record that pop hit specifically for radio purposes.

Produced by Ben Folds, the EP consists mostly of romantic-minded songs, even if in a delusional sense, such as on Lie To Me where she sings “look in my eyes when you say you love me/so I can see you lie to me.” On the next song, Sara introduces the second verse of Sweet As Whole with a very-true statement: “I surprised you with some of my words,” on a song made to be an Ode to the freshly bad break-up while out with the bffs consisting of a sing-along-chorus:

And that guy’s an asshole
That girl’s a bitch
Baby it’s natural
No getting away from it
So sing it out with me
And then let it go
Fuck that guy he’s just an asshole

The Once Upon A Time EP might sound out of place next to her full-length records but it does reveal new dimensions to Sara Bareilles that suddenly make her much more interesting a recording artist. While these songs might not indicate what her next direction will be, it shows more of what she’s capable of doing. Three stars

1. Once Upon Another Time
2. Stay
3. Lie To Me
4. Sweet As Whole
5. Bright Lights And Cityscapes

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