For comfort after a recent break-up, I've been listening to a lot of Sara Bareilles. It was a long-term relationship which I had a lot of hope for, and although I didn't want to admit it at first-- this hurts. But instead of pushing down that feeling of loss, I've been listening to Sara Bareilles' music. A good portion of them are about break-ups and help me accept my feelings in private. Others are inspirational and are directed towards women suffering from a bout of lowered self-esteem. Whether you're mourning the loss of a promising relationship, or just need a gorgeously composed confidence boost, I hope the songs on this list help you like they've helped me.
A Sara Bareilles original, this one made me cry like a baby. The lyrics hit close to home. It's so easy to "fall" into someone's "gravity" when talking again after a break-up. You're reminded of all the things that made you love that person, and you feel so close when you laugh at their jokes like you used to. But you need to set yourself free, and take space from the person to avoid being pulled back into old feelings.
2. "Chasing the Sun"
This is a song about realizing our time on earth as an opportunity to "chase the sun." For a tune whose lyrics begin with the imagery of a cemetery "in the center of Queens," it is upbeat, fast-paced and hopeful. Of all it's impactful lyrics, my favorite was the line, "all we can do is try." It can be so easy to feel like what we do is not enough, yet true progress is made when we make an effort and appreciate ourselves for trying our best. As the saying goes, "you fail 100 percent of the shots you don't take ---Wayne Gretzky" (Michael Scott).
In all seriousness though, when I first heard "Chasing the Sun," I was so excited by its refrain of the same name. This past summer, I often felt like I was literally chasing the sun. I would run on the trail near my house on especially hot, sunny days. Sweat would bead on my face as adrenaline swelled in my head-- the sun kissing my skin and dotting my face with freckles. For me, its a song that helps me look forward to all the sun chasing I'll be doing this coming summer.
This song is about a romance that never kindled like it should have. The lines, "we were never gonna catch fire," and "Love you, oh, you sweet thing, no, I never said that." It describes someone in the midst of breaking off a relationship that never "lit." Like flames, "Fire" is bright, upbeat and passionate in its tempo. It also expresses a hopeful theme, where Bareilles sings, "Someday I, I won't have to feel the cold/ But I do now, so I'll know/ What it feels like when I feel fire, fire." I found it not only uplifting, but comforting in its message-- the idea that someday I'll find a "fire" again in contrast to the present's bitter starkness.
Released in 2018, "Armor" is a song which is meant to empower women-- restating all of the injustices against women that have already been said. It's intro where Bareilles sings, "How the hell did Eve end up with all the damn blame?" was the line which really made me go "oof." That isn't to say that I don't believe in the song's message, or even that I dislike the song, but it is to say that upon first listen I'd expect others to have the same reaction. I figured before going into what makes me adore this song, I'd give you a heads up about the cringy intro.
Although this song starts off rough, the fast-paced, jazzy tempo makes a listen totally worth it. The refrain, "All my, my, my, my armor comes from you," gives me goosebumps every time I hear it (although I don't entirely know what it means and thought she was saying "mama ma my armor come from you," in reference to her mother). When I hear that jazzy bass in the song's background while I walk around campus, it makes me feel like I'm way more important than I actually am.
5. "King of Anything"
A familiar for most people, I'm sure, Bareilles' "King of Anything" is not on this list for the reason you may think. If you've heard it before, then you're familiar with what it's about-- a woman sick of her relationship with a narcissistic man. But for me, this song means more to me than its message. When I was in primary school, my music teacher would use this song as an example of meter. She didn't hesitate to deem it her favorite song and I reasoned this a logical choice in my child-mind. Sara Bareilles and she had a very similar voice. Whenever I hear this song, I think of that music teacher who was so nice to me despite failing her class every year. That teacher who made her class more like an event to look forward to every week despite my lack of musical prowess; an event which was an oasis from the monotony of private school. So, when I hear Bareilles sing the words, "who died and made you the king of anything," I think of a different type of "ex"-- my ex-music teacher. Therefore, this song is more a testament to what a strong, talented woman can do with the little time and space she is given to teach music meaningfully and kindly at a Catholic school rather than a song about an asshole ex-boyfriend. The good memories of my youth it inspires gives me comfort.
I hope this list, as well as my explanations of each of these song's value to me, has given you the comfort you have been seeking. I encourage you to check out more of Sara Bareilles' songs, since although these are my favorites, I think all of her music is like the lavender tea of the auditory world-- warm and consoling.