The Blessed Unrest

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For the book by Paul Hawken, see Blessed Unrest. For other uses, see Blessed Unrest (disambiguation).
The Blessed Unrest
The Blessed Unrest album cover
Studio album by Sara Bareilles
Released July 12, 2013 (2013-07-12)
Recorded 2013
Genre Pop rock, soul
Length 50:35
Label Epic
Producer John O'Mahony, Sara Bareilles, Mark Endert, Kurt Uenala
Sara Bareilles chronology
Once Upon Another Time
(2012)
The Blessed Unrest
(2013)
Brave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouse
(2013)
Singles from The Blessed Unrest
  1. "Brave"
    Released: April 23, 2013
  2. "I Choose You"
    Released: January 17, 2014

The Blessed Unrest is the fourth studio album and third major-label album by American singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.[1] The album was released on July 12, 2013 through Epic Records.[2] The lead single from the album, "Brave", was released digitally on April 23, 2013.[3] It sold 68,000 copies in its first week of release in the United States and debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, behind Jay-Z's Magna Carta... Holy Grail.[4] The album was nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Background[edit]

On February 26, 2013, Bareilles posted a video on YouTube stating that she was "Making a Record" and to "stay tuned for more updates."[5] Following this, a video series began with featuring six 2-minute installments showing Bareilles recording her album. On July 9, a week before the release, Bareilles made the album available for free streaming on iTunes.

Songs on this album are reflections of Bareilles' experiences, like going through a break-up.[6][7]

Recording[edit]

The Blessed Unrest was recorded in New York City and Los Angeles in early 2013 with co-producers John O'Mahony and Kurt Uenala. Electric Lady Studios was used to record the tracks in New York City.[8]

Promotion[edit]

On March 27, Bareilles announced the Brave Enough Tour, an 18 city US tour ahead of the album's release.[9] Tickets to the solo acoustic tour sold out in just three minutes.[10] In June, Bareilles also announced a co-headlining tour with OneRepublic, setting to begin on August 29.[11]

Sara performed "Brave" and "I Choose You" on Live! with Kelly and Michael on July 17, 2013. She performed "Brave" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on July 19, 2013, appeared on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown on July 20, 2013, and on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on July 22, 2013.[12]

Singles[edit]

"Brave" was released on April 23, 2013 as the lead single from the album. It was co-written by Jack Antonoff from the band Fun. An official lyric video was premiered on April 17, 2013.[13] The song debuted and initially peaked at #61 at the US Billboard Hot 100, and #20 on its Hot Digital Songs chart. Following widespread comparisons to Katy Perry's "Roar", "Brave" re-entered the Hot 100 and eventually reached a peak of #23. The song has received positive reviews, many deeming it as one of her most "anthemic" singles to date.

"I Choose You" was announced on January 17, 2014 as the second single through Bareilles's Twitter's account.[14] The song has reached #81 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #16 on Billboard's Adult Pop Songs chart. [15]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic told that the music is "moody and textured, rolling out at a deliberate pace and colored in blues and greys, skillfully skirting the edges of alienation".[16] At Billboard, Jason Lipshutz felt that the album is "exciting when viewed in its larger context as a transitional album; the 12-song collection has its share of light fare that could earn spins on adult contemporary radio, but it's also more lyrically daring and serious-sounding".[17] Elysa Garnder of USA Today stated that the release has "lingering traces of preciousness are mitigated by her sinewy hooks and thoughtful, tasteful delivery."[18] At Entertainment Weekly, they said Bareilles is "channeling Fiona Apple and Florence Welch".

At Rolling Stone, Stacey Anderson touched on that "The Blessed Unrest is full of broad, exposition-heavy vignettes of heartache and resiliency; the songs feel groomed for rom-com soundtracks."[19] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times felt that "vocally, Ms. Bareilles sounds bright, too, and comfortable [...] doing her familiar trick of making the melancholy chirp."[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 68/100[21]
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk 85%[22]
AllMusic 4/5 stars[16]
Billboard 75%[17]
Entertainment Weekly B+[21]
PopMatters 6/10 discs[23]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[19]
USA Today 3/4 stars[18]

The Blessed Unrest received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, they assign a weighted average score based on reviews and ratings from selected mainstream critics, and the Metascore is a 68, based on seven reviews.[21]

At AbsolutePunk, Craig Manning felt that Bareilles built "the sort of stunning and nuanced arrangements that elevate her songs beyond traditional singer/songwriter fare."[22] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic noted that "its melancholy is warm and inviting."[16] At Billboard, Jason Lipshutz evoked that the "new album was the result of unrest, but as its title suggests, she has positively embraced her dissatisfaction and subsequently grown as an artist."[17] Elysa Gardner of USA Today called this Bareilles' "most mature and satisfying to date, with fewer of the twee touches that marred her previous fare."[18] At Entertainment Weekly, they said the album is " a lovely collection of confessional sketches."[21]

However, Stacey Anderson at Rolling Stone highlighted that the release "hints at more adventurous paths left unexplored in its abstract piano and slightly distorted harmonies [...] odd, intriguing tools she could use for a second-act career twist, if she indulges them."[19] Because of this, Anderson noted that Bareilles was "just too diplomatic."[19] At The New York Times, Jon Caramanica was mixed on the album, when he alluded to how "Ms. Bareilles is hiding behind styles that aren’t her own."[20] Brett Faulkner of PopMatters wrote that the release is a "well conceived effort, but not sans flaws."[23]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Nomination Result
2014 Grammy Awards Album of the Year[24] Nominated
Best Pop Solo Performance for "Brave" Nominated

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Brave[25]"   Sara Bareilles, Jack Antonoff Mark Endert 3:41
2. "Chasing the Sun"   Bareilles, Antonoff Endert 4:29
3. "Hercules"   Bareilles Bareilles, John O'Mahony, Kurt Uenala 4:22
4. "Manhattan[26]"   Bareilles Bareilles, O'Mahony 4:39
5. "Satellite Call"   Bareilles Bareilles, O'Mahony, Uenala 4:51
6. "Little Black Dress"   Bareilles Bareilles, O'Mahony 3:32
7. "Cassiopeia"   Bareilles Bareilles, O'Mahony, Uenala 3:33
8. "1000 Times"   Bareilles Bareilles, O'Mahony 4:30
9. "I Choose You[27]"   Bareilles, Jason Blynn, Pete Harper Endert 3:39
10. "Eden"   Bareilles, Matt Hales Bareilles, O'Mahony, Uenala 4:05
11. "Islands"   Bareilles, Hales Bareilles, O'Mahony, Uenala 4:21
12. "December"   Bareilles Bareilles, O'Mahony, Uenala 5:01
Total length:
50:35

The track listing was confirmed via iTunes on May 14.[30]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[31] 2
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[32] 7
Australian Albums (ARIA)[33] 73
Swiss Albums Chart[34] 55

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Position
US Billboard 200[35] 134

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amazon.com: Sara Bareilles: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  2. ^ "Blessed Unrest: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  3. ^ "Brave: Sara Bareilles: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  4. ^ "Jay Z Stays Atop Billboard 200, Sara Bareilles Debuts at No. 2". Billboard.com. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sara is Making a Record...". YouTube. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  6. ^ "Sara Bareilles Gets ‘Brave’ With Third Album And Solo Tour". radio.com. 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  7. ^ "With ‘The Blessed Unrest,’ Sara Bareilles Finds Inspiration – And Aspiration – In The Stars". radio.com. 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  8. ^ Luerssen, John D. (May 28, 2013). "Sara Bareilles Offers Inside Look at Making of 'The Blessed Unrest'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  9. ^ Newman, Melinda. "Sara Bareilles set to release new album this summer". HitFix. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Borja, Feliz. "SARA BAREILLES Reveals Album Title "The Blessed Unrest" For Her Third Studio Album This July!". MYX. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sara Bareilles, OneRepublic Announce Co-Headlining Tour". Billboard.com. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Late Night TV Page". interbridge.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Sara Bareilles "Brave" Lyric Video Premiere on VEVO". Epic Records. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  14. ^ http://twitpic.com/dskr14
  15. ^ "Adult Pop Songs". Billboard Hot 100. Billboard. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (July 16, 2013). "The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (July 16, 2013). "Sara Bareilles, 'The Blessed Unrest': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c Gardner, Elysa (July 16, 2013). "Listen Up: Sara Bareilles, more". USA Today. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d Anderson, Stacey (July 16, 2013). "Sara Bareilles, 'The Blessed Unrest'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon (July 15, 2013). "Sara Bareilles, George Duke and Ace Hood". The New York Times. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c d Metacritic (July 16, 2013). "Critic Reviews for The Blessed Unrest". CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Manning, Craig (July 15, 2013). "Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Faulkner, Brett (August 6, 2013). "Sara Bareilles: The Blessed Unrest". PopMatters. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Nominees And Winners". Grammy Awards. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  25. ^ Sara Bareilles - Brave (Live from Atlanta)
  26. ^ Sara Bareilles - Manhattan (lyric video)
  27. ^ Sara Bareilles - I Choose You (Live at the Manderley Bar)
  28. ^ "The Blessed Unrest : Sara Bareilles | HMV ONLINE - EICP-1583 [English Site]". Hmv.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  29. ^ "Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest - Only at Ta...". Target. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  30. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  31. ^ "Sara Bareilles Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Sara Bareilles. Prometheus Global Media.
  32. ^ "Sara Bareilles Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Sara Bareilles. Prometheus Global Media.
  33. ^ "Chartifacts". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  34. ^ "SARA BAREILLES - THE BLESSED UNREST". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums : Dec 22, 2013". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2013-12-23.