During her hiatus from making music, Sara Bareilles spent six years working on the blockbuster Broadway musical “Waitress.” Now, six years after the release of her album “The Blessed Unrest,” Bareilles returns with her politically charged 12-track collection titled “Amidst the Chaos.”
Her new album follows a variety of political moments, including the border crisis. “A Safe Place to Land” (with John Legend) serves as the last track on the album, and was written at the height of the border crisis.
The album also opens with a bang. On the first track, “Fire,” she sings “We were never gonna catch fire / We’d have burned up in the flames.” This opening sets the tone for the majority of the album and smoothly transitions into the next song, “No Such Thing.” This second track shifts briefly away from the theme of politics to focus on the challenges of moving on after a breakup.
The fourth and fifth tracks are called “If I Can’t Have You” and “Eyes on You.” With these, Bareilles seamlessly blends R&B with pop to create a catchy, upbeat sound, before moving on to the more somber “Miss Simone.” On “Miss Simone” Bareilles’ voice seems to drift into the listener’s ears, almost as if she is singing especially for them.
A little later on in “Orpheus,” the eighth track, Bareilles sings “Don’t stop trying to find me here amidst the chaos,” giving context to the album’s ambiguous title. Then the ninth track, “Poetry by Dead Men,” takes another dip away from politics and focuses on Bareilles’ own relationship. This song examines the trials of being in a relationship when both parties do not want the same thing.
The 11th song — and my personal favorite — is “Saint Honesty.” This one showcases Bareilles’ soulful melodies and haunting voice while also prompting the listener to examine the deeper meaning behind the lyrics.
Whether or not you agree with the political sentiments behind Bareilles’ music, the creative merit of what she’s skillfully shaped together in “Amidst the Chaos” cannot be denied.