Home > Album Review, Music, Reviews > Album Review – Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles

Album Review – Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments


  1. Kaleidoscope Heart
  2. Uncharted
  3. Gonna Get Over You
  4. Hold My Heart
  5. King Of Anything
  6. Say You’re Sorry
  7. The Light
  8. Basket Case
  9. Let The Rain
  10. Machine Gun
  11. Not Alone
  12. Breathe Again
  13. Bluebird

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles has released her sophomore album ‘Kaleidoscope Heart‘ finally. It’s been a long wait for fans (that’s ME!), with her debut album ‘Little Voice‘ released waaay back in 2007. She’s described her difficulties with the songwriting process this time around as akin to ‘pulling teeth’, but thankfully, listening to the album is no burden at all.

Kaleidoscope Heart is still chock-full of Sara’s familiar sound – piano driven pop songs with clever lyrics – but she’s added a few more instruments here – mostly guitar, a ukulele, a violin, and she uses her own voice as an instrument too, opening the album with a multi-layered chorus of herself as an a capella choir which seamlessly segues to the piano driven ‘Uncharted‘. The songs build up to soaring choruses – especially in the ballad ‘Bluebird‘ – truly good chill-inducing vocals on that one. But most of the time, I felt that her singing was overpowered by the piano, which is so front and center almost all throughout, pounding in staccato beat through most songs (except the ballads).

I’m not exactly sure why Kaleidoscope Heart is basically a break-up album – maybe she had some problems of the heart while writing it? (I don’t really know anything about her private life) But it’s all there, the pain of breaking up and later, philosophically picking yourself up again.

After listening to the album, it’s pretty clear why ‘King of Anything‘ was the lead single – it’s clever and sassy and harkens back to the girl who wrote the ironic ‘Love Song‘. Plus, ‘King of Anything‘ is the most radio-friendly of the lot.

I personally wouldn’t have minded if they had started things off with ‘Gonna Get Over You‘ though. I think this should be a single too – it’s got this infectious (& pretty hypnotic) piano beat running through the song; there’s a distinctly retro-feel to it (with doo-wops a-plenty); and the lyrics are all sad and philosophical, but it’s all dressed up in spun sugar – the best way I can describe is it’s like this heartbroken 60s girl who goes out dancing anyway in her make-up and a pretty bubble-skirt. ‘Say You’re Sorry‘ also has a retro feel to me, sort of like an 80s movie’s dramatic theme song.

My favorite track from the album is ‘The Light‘ – loved it, from the first notes. I call it the whisperingly quiet but melting love song, and I love it in the same way that I love The Avett Brothers’ I and Love and You and The Swell Season’s In These Arms. These songs are like personal poems or hymns to love for me.

As I’ve mentioned, Sara also breaks out the guitar for some songs in the album. ‘Basket Case‘ is almost folksy to me, and ‘Let the Rain‘ has this really charming part in the middle where Sara breaks it down with a good hook in the melody and clever beats. ‘Carolina’ the bonus song you get when you pre-ordered from iTunes has a rock-edge to it that I liked.

Machine Gun and Not Alone were surprises for me – they’re very lounge-y and slinky. I’d say Machine Gun even has torch-song moments, while Not Alone practically calls out to be sung in high heels and a sexy red gown with the slit up to here.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with Sara Bareilles’ sophomore effort. Due to her difficulties in song-writing, I was afraid that she’d be in a slump, but happily, that’s not the case here. If you’re not getting the whole album, but just some songs, I strongly suggest ‘Gonna Get Over You‘ and ‘The Light‘.

Kaleidoscope Heart‘ is available on Amazon as an MP3 Album ($9.99) or as an Audio CD ($9.99). You can also download the album on iTunes ($9.99).

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  1. Guitar Review
    September 15, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Great post. I can’t get enough guitars. ❤

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