By Francesca Toscano
For many breakout artists, a sophomore album can prove to be an impossible and career-destroying feat. The musician has two choices: to feed off the success of the last album with a similar compilation or take an artistic risk and break the mold. For Sara Bareilles, her new album Kaleidoscope Heart is a creative departure from Little Voice (2007) that stunningly displays her abilities as not only a musician but also as a songwriter.
On Little Voice, Bareilles received fame for her hit “Love Song,” a snappy, pop-piano piece heard on Top 40 stations internationally. However, Bareilles gained a cult following because of the other tracks on the album, which have of elegant lyrics, flowing melodies and captivating vocal performances. Although the record was able to capture the ears of countless listeners, the album’s title represented Bareilles’ musical state: It was her “little voice,” and she is capable of so much more.
Kaleidoscope Heart is more than an uplifting pop album—it is a soaring melodic accomplishment with a variety of musical influences spanning far beyond the reach of similar artists. There are some pieces reminiscent of her Little Voice days: “Uncharted” is a pop-based single that describes Bareilles’ epiphany of self-discovery, and the sassy “King of Anything” might as well be titled “Love Song: Part Two.”
Displaying Bareilles’ expansive musical ability, “Gonna Get Over You” is suggestive of a 1950s doo-wop hit with modern influences. Although the song recalls vintage musical attributes, the haunting lyrics that have become Bareilles’ staple are still apparent. Similarly, “Basket Case” departs from her typical style, featuring an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and flowing harmonies instead of relying on piano melodies, soft in demeanor but strong in lyrical purpose. Listeners who analyze Bareilles’ content cannot help but be captivated by her stunning imagery and imaginative use of language.
Kaleidoscope Heart is a representation of Sara Bareilles as not only an evolving artist, but also a creative, introspective individual. Just as the title Little Voice reflected Bareilles’ freshman album, Kaleidoscope Heart does the same. This album is an innovative burst of color, straight from the creator’s heart.
Francesca Toscano is a freshman integrated marketing communications major who wants you to write her a love song. Email her at email@example.com.