Sara Bareilles is a rarity in a world of Pop Music Gimmickry. She doesn't rely on crazy outfits, Tabloid-feeding relationships or publicized rivalries with other Pop Stars - she truly is just about talent and the love of performing. At the same time, she does it all without giving off an air of concern for popularity. This perhaps works to her advantage and at the same time, works against her on sophomore effort Kaleidoscope Heart.
The 13-track Collection picks up where Bareilles left off with Gold-certified debut album Little Voice - a cleanly-produced Adult Contemporary sound which never loses sight of those soulful and soothingly textured vocals and of course, her wonderful Piano playing. What Bareilles does best is communicate discontent and dare I say a bit of anger against music which sounds almost too whimsical and pretty for the listener to believe otherwise. Case in point, Say You're Sorry, Gonna Get Over You, Machine Gun and first single King of Anything are reflections of failed love with the absolving of personal responsibility and hyper-critical psycho-analysis of past lovers. "Maybe nobody loved you when you were young/Baby boy when you cry nobody ever comes" she says to an ex-lover who chose to make an enemy out of her.
Bareilles just as effectively conveys delicate emotion on beautiful second single Hold My Heart which perhaps will make up for the lack of reception gorgeous single Gravity received from her debut. The same applies to The Light and heartbreakingly beautiful Breathe Again, which evokes the feeling of suffocation upon the dissolving of an all-consuming love.
In all honesty, a few more risks could have been taken with Kaleidoscope Heart. At moments it borders a bit on the boring in all its introspection when considering the average Pop Listener. Perhaps a few tracks could have been eliminated for a more concise listening experience? And although I am all for the spirit of creativity and trying new things, Bareilles first entered the scene with a bit of fun and spunk with breakthrough track Love Song, setting a certain expectation with Pop audiences of who she is. There isn't enough of that here, even though she and producer Neal Avron have created a sonically flawless listening experience.