This Sara Bareilles article was written by Adam Jones, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
After releasing the Grammy nominated ‘The Blessed Unrest’, Sara Bareilles focused her attention on scoring a musical: an adaptation of the noted 2007 film Waitress. In its first run, the show received critical acclaim and there are plans to take the show to Broadway in 2016. However, Sara has decided to re-record a selection of the songs from the show for her fifth studio album: ‘What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress’. On this decision Sara has stated that: “it proved impossible for me to imagine handing over the songs to the show before selfishly finding a way to sing them myself”. This was evidently an excellent decision as these tracks lend themselves naturally to her style.
In interviews, she has described approaching musical theatre as a “kind of homecoming” and we can see the links between the genre and her writing style. The theatrical styling is abundant on this record and it is easy to envisage how these songs translate on stage. Tracks like ‘Opening Up’ and ‘When He Sees Me’ lend themselves naturally to choreography and performance and with this quality of music; it is obvious why the show has received such positive reviews so far. The songs on this album present a fairly good snapshot of the film/musical, even if you aren’t familiar with the story. However, ‘What’s Inside’ also works outside of the show as a strong album in its own right.
Despite the evidence of stage show leanings, these twelve songs are not too far removed from Bareilles’ usual repertoire. The piano backing of ‘Opening Up’ is reminiscent of 2010’s single ‘Gonna Get Over You’; the sassier attitude of ‘I Didn’t Plan It’ harks back to breakthrough singles ‘Love Song’ and ‘Bottle It Up’, whilst the reflective ‘Softer Place To Land’ would not sound out of place on an earlier album. Another stand out track is undeniably the lead single ‘She Used To Be Mine’; which presents a beautifully melancholy mediation on growing up and losing track of yourself. It highlights Bareilles’ skill and depth as a lyricist and a performer and she herself has stated that everyone can relate to this song.
‘What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress’ allows Bareilles to explore the musical theatre genre, whilst still satisfying her own fan base. The duets with Jason Mraz are well performed, as their vocals complement each other so well. The album is able to remain true to the story of Waitress and shows us how meaningful the central themes of the story are. This album shines with everything that makes Sara Bareilles such an original artist and her heartfelt and insightful lyricism again come to the fore on another record that showcases this talented singer-songwriters’ versatility as an artist and performer.
‘What’s Inside – Songs from Waitress’ is out now via Epic Records.